Ignored Reports of Sexual Harassment Lead to Lawsuit
Morehouse College has been sued in Fulton County Superior Court in Georgia for failing to adequately respond to a student’s report that he had been sexually harassed and assaulted by a professor during a Study-Abroad Trip to Brazil in 2015.
The lawsuit alleges that the professor in question purchased alcoholic beverages for the Plaintiff on the flight to Brazil. The Plaintiff was too young to purchase and consume alcohol at the time. During the flight, the professor groped the Plaintiff’s genitals. After arriving in Brazil, the professor purchased more alcoholic beverages for underage students and sent sexually-explicit text messages to students. According to the lawsuit, the professor had a history of trading or attempting to trade sex for good grades.
Student’s Complaint to Morehouse College Was Ignored
“My client responded to this harassment in the best way he knew: to formally take his concerns to the professor’s superiors in the hope that the issue would be addressed and resolved,” said Cade Parian, the attorney for the Plaintiff and a Carrollton, Georgia Sexual Harassment Attorney with The Parian Law Firm, LLC. However, according to the lawsuit, Morehouse College officials ignored the student’s complaint and concerns, claiming that it did not receive the student’s formal complaint until January 2018, even though the student claims to have filed the report in December. Additionally, the professor’s actions were reported to his department chair by another faculty member, but the department ignored those concerns.
Student Was Unable to Continue His Studies
The Plaintiff withdrew from the school in the fall of 2017 after suffering academically following the events described. He attempted to return to school in the spring of 2018 semester but received no real support from Morehouse’s administrators. He no longer attends Morehouse College. The student’s lawsuit claims that the trauma associated with the events, coupled with the school’s failure to properly address the matter, caused significant pain and suffering that he continues to deal with and that impacted him both personally and academically.
Sexual Harassment Can Affect Anyone
Though women are much more likely to suffer sexual harassment, it can affect men as well. Regardless of the victim’s gender, he or she deserves to have the opportunity to hold the harasser accountable for his or her actions. Many workplaces and schools have procedures for reporting these events, but when those mechanisms fail a victim, he or she should always remember that they can avail themselves of Georgia’s court system to enforce their rights. These harassers must be held accountable, and when the systems fail the victims, the Court must step in to ensure that action is taken.