Sexual Abuse Cases by College Professors

College Professors - Photo by: Kristian Sekulic Most college professors have a code of conduct mandated by their employer. Every college has a sexual harassment policy, and many have policies that prohibit undergraduate student–faculty relationships. Even though both parties are likely to be consenting adults there are a few reasons this policy exists. The relationship would create a conflict of interest, there is a power dynamic between student and faculty, and with that power comes the idea that there cannot be a relationship of mutual consent. Unfortunately, even with these policies, sexual abuse by college professors still occurs. Perpetrators that have made news headlines include:

Jorge Domínguez and Harvard University

Jorge Domínguez was a Harvard University professor who was accused of sexually harassing at least 18 female students and faculty members for more than 20 years. Despite repeated complaints to the university, Domínguez remained employed by the university and received a promotion. Since the university took no action, it was up to the students to warn each other about his behavior. Some students even changed the focus of their research projects to avoid interactions with Domínguez. Complaints included unwanted kissing and touching and talk of rape. In 2018 he was placed on administrative leave and soon after resigned.

D. Eugene Redmond Jr. and Yale School of Medicine

D. Eugene Redmon Jr., a retired Yale School of Medicine professor, was accused of sexually harassing several students, sexually assaulting five students, sexual misconduct toward eight undergrads or recent graduates, and one high school student, as well as a 12–year–old neighbor over 25 years. Many of the accusations proved similar in descriptions of grooming behavior and shared bedrooms with Redmond at his St. Kitts research facility.

Dartmouth College

In 2018, Dartmouth College was sued by seven women who alleged that while they were students, professors Todd Heatherton, William Kelley, and Paul Whalen sexually assaulted, harassed, and discriminated against them while the college turned a blind eye and even promoted one of the professors. The professors used their power over the women to pressure them into a party culture filled with alcohol and sex and threatened their academic success and careers should they complain or retaliate.


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