The chair of the communications department at the University of Kentucky was arrested over the weekend on suspicion of incest and sexual abuse.
Jail records show 65-year-old Kevin Real was booked on charges of incest, first-degree sexual abuse where the victim is under 12 years of age, and first-degree sodomy. His bond is set at $15,000.
According to the Kentucky Kernel, which cites the arrest report, Real allegedly first sexually abused the relative when the child was 6 years old. More abuse allegedly occurred in July.
Real is an award-winning professor whose “research interests involve organizational and team communication in healthcare, design, and construction contexts,” according to the University of Kentucky Department of Communication site.
He was recognized by the university with a Research Excellence Award, and the College of Communication and Information lauded him with a Teaching Excellence Award. Real has been at the University of Kentucky since 2002 and was promoted to professor from associate professor in 2019.
The Kentucky Kernel reports Real became the chair of the department in 2020.
A University of Kentucky spokesperson told the Kentucky Kernel that Real has been put on administrative leave.
Dean Jennifer Greer reportedly sent an email to the college’s faculty and staff, calling the case “terribly upsetting to our community.”
Greer reportedly wrote, “Do know that all involved are taking this matter seriously, and we are working through established university processes.”
Court records show Real’s preliminary hearing is scheduled for Oct. 7.