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Consequences at Plymouth State for Those Who Defended a Child Rapist

August 2, 2018
 
 

Plymouth State University said Wednesday that a retired professor who defended a convicted child rapist in a letter to the court will not be rehired as an adjunct instructor or “in any other capacity.” Two other faculty members who defended the Plymouth State graduate and high school guidance counselor convicted of sexually assaulting a student will complete sexual harassment training prior to their return to campus and will work closely with other professors upon their return, the university also said.

Last month, it was revealed that Nancy Strapko, an associate professor emeritus and former graduate school health education coordinator at Plymouth State, asked the court for leniency for Kristie Torbick, a Plymouth State alumna, prior to her sentencing for sexual assault -- and in so doing seemed to blame the young victim. Borrowing Strapko’s language, Plymouth State in its statement said that “portraying a 14-year-old sexual assault victim as a ‘pursuer’ is legally wrong and morally reprehensible.”

Michael L. Fischler, professor emeritus of counselor education and school psychology at Plymouth State, and Gary Goodnough, a current professor in the department -- both of whom also expressed their support for Torbick in letters to the court -- “have agreed to complete additional [gender discrimination] training and to work closely with Plymouth State faculty, students and staff to address the issues and the concerns created by their letters,” according to the university.

Beyond the individual faculty members, Plymouth State said it will create opportunities to “provide each campus community member an opportunity to share his or her voice through programs, forums, and surveys to assess our campus climate” in the months ahead. None of the three affected professors responded to requests for comment.

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