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Allegations in Dartmouth Harassment Case

November 17, 2017
 
 

Dartmouth College confirmed last month that it is investigating three professors in relation to harassment claims, all of whom are on paid leave with restricted access to campus. A criminal investigation is also under way. Now a former Dartmouth professor says she reported one of those professors to the college for sexual harassment 15 years ago, according to New Hampshire Public Radio.

Jennifer Groh, a professor in Dartmouth's psychological and brain sciences program from 1997 until about a decade ago, recently wrote to Dartmouth about the incident. Her note, which has since been shared online, says that Todd Heatherton, a professor of psychological and brain sciences who is now on leave from Dartmouth, in 2002 touched a graduate student’s breasts while telling her she was doing her work poorly. Groh says the student confided in her, and she shared the incident with an associate dean. Simine Vazire, now a professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis, also has publicly accused Heatherton (whom she did not know at the time) of groping her at an academic conference in 2002, according to Slate.

It remains unclear what action Dartmouth took in the case, if any, Groh said in her letter, adding, “I hope that the current investigation will consider not only the present case but also whether a different approach in 2002 would have prevented it.”

Heatherton’s attorneys said in a statement that their client “is confident that he has not violated any written policy of Dartmouth, including policies relating to sexual misconduct and sexual harassment.” Heatherton reportedly told Slate, “If I touched [Vazire] as she described, all I can say is that I am profoundly sorry.”

Diana Lawrence, college spokeswoman, said, “At the heart of our ongoing investigations is an extensive fact-finding process led by an experienced external investigator.” She added, “We appreciate hearing from Groh about her experience and encourage anyone with additional information about the allegations to reach out to us, the New Hampshire State Police or the attorney general’s office.”

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