Dartmouth reaches $14 Million settlement in sexual harassment, assault lawsuit
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Dartmouth College reached a $14 million settlement with a group of nine women over alleged sexual assault and harassment by three professors, the school announced Tuesday.

The women filed the suit last year, alleging that the professors in the school’s Department of Psychology and Brain Sciences "leered at, groped, sexted, intoxicated and even raped female students.” When the lawsuit was filed, the women held that the professors had been assaulting and harassing female students, as well as using their positions to coerce the women into drinking and sexual encounters, over a span of more than a decade.

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“We are satisfied to have reached an agreement with Dartmouth College, and are encouraged by our humble contribution to bringing restorative justice to a body of Dartmouth students beyond the named plaintiffs,” Kristina Rapuano, Vassiki Chauhan, Sasha Brietzke, Annemarie Brown, Andrea Courtney, Marissa Evans and three “Jane Does” announced in the Tuesday press release. The women originally sought $70 million in damages.

“We remain committed to bringing survivor perspectives and community voices to the forefront of the conversation surrounding campus climate. Together with Dartmouth, we plan to continue addressing the systemic roots of power-based personal violence and gender-based discrimination across all levels of severity so that our experiences — and those of the class we represent — are never repeated,” they continued.  

The school’s president, Philip J. Hanlon, thanked the women who “courageously came forward alongside other students to bring to my administration’s attention a toxic environment.”

“I cannot express strongly enough my deep disappointment that these individuals violated their positions of trust to these, and other, students and members of our community,” Hanlon said. “Their conduct flies in the face of Dartmouth’s mission and core values. That is why my colleagues and I moved to revoke their tenure. Through this process, we have learned lessons that we believe will enable us to root out this behavior immediately if it ever threatens our campus community again.”

The professors, Todd F. Heatherton, William M. Kelley and Paul J. Whalen, all retired or resigned after the school revoked their tenure following the accusations.

The terms of the settlement have not yet been made public, other than the $14 million settlement. Dartmouth said the settlement does include specific initiatives funded by the school “to identify and rectify current problems and prevent future issues.”

The college’s alumni group was critical of the school’s Tuesday statement, calling it “self-serving” and “publicity driven.” The group criticized the school for trying to force the three Jane Does to identify themselves in court, arguing that anonymous plaintiffs could not represent the group, according to The New York Times.

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersBiden says he won't legalize marijuana because it may be a 'gateway drug' Democrats seize on report of FedEx's Bernie Sanders tax bill to slam Trump's tax plan If we want to save earth, we need to change how we eat MORE (I-Vt.) also criticized the school’s efforts to publicly identify the women, tweeting in June, “The use of pseudonyms in lawsuits regarding sexual harassment and assault is a common, accepted legal practice that protects the safety and privacy of survivors."

 

The Hill has reached out to Dartmouth for comment.