I was just told by an acquaintance that an incoming intern at my company was apparently suspended for college for sexual harassment, and has been on leave for the last semester and the current semester. The acquaintance provided pictorial evidence to show that the allegations of suspension are in fact true. I believe that this intern lied to HR and told them that he was taking time off to travel, and I do not believe that the HR is aware of the suspension, as we generally do not ask for transcripts or other information from the school itself. What should I do in this situation?
This is a dilemma. On the one hand, you don't want gossip and rumours to squash someone's career before it even starts. On the other, you don't want there to be trouble, and to know you were in a position to prevent a problem, yet you stayed quiet. And you're not able, by training or authority, to investigate the truth of the matter. Luckily, you have people for that: HR.
The furthest I would go with this is to tell HR:
This may just be gossip, but I was told that X is in fact suspended from college at the moment. If that's relevant to the internship program, I suggest contacting the college to confirm it.
And then NEVER FOLLOW UP. Let HR take whatever steps need to be taken and stay out of it. It's not your job to evaluate "pictorial evidence" or the like. You are not able to establish either the truth, or your company policy on this matter. HR may be told by the college that the intern is in good standing. Or they may feel that being suspended from college doesn't disqualify interns. Or they may withdraw the internship. Whatever. Not your problem. You've told them what you know, which isn't much, and that's your part of it over and done with.
If the intern ends up working in your group, try not to spread rumours. I can guess you would want to protect your co-workers, but that is not something a whisper network does well, especially when you don't have any relevant details that someone could use to evaluate whether a particular situation is a vulnerable one or not. Examples: did the student allegedly harass a woman or a man? Was it a case of saying things in a group setting, or physically assaulting someone in private? If you don't know, how can you be helpful?