Everyone knew that Krauss had been ill-behaved towards women, and there’d even been that story of him groping a fan at a conference. We all believed it, but it sure took a long time for the powers-that-be to get around to confirming it. Now they have: ASU has released their findings, and confirmed that Lawrence Krauss grabbed a woman’s breast in public.
Arizona State University has concluded that physics professor Lawrence Krauss breached the school’s sexual harassment policy by groping a woman at a conference in Australia.
The incident, which happened at a dinner in November 2016 in Melbourne as part of the Australian skeptics national convention, was revealed in February in a BuzzFeed News investigation that described allegations of unwanted sexual advances, groping, and inappropriate comments by Krauss over more than a decade.
The incident in Melbourne happened when one of Krauss’s fans took a selfie photograph with him. A witness, microbiologist Melanie Thomson, filed a formal complaint with Arizona State in July of 2017, stating that the professor had grabbed the woman’s breast. (The woman in the selfie did not complain to the university.)
Krauss made excuses that were not believed, and also tried to place the blame on his accuser.
Thomson told BuzzFeed News that she felt vindicated. “The original investigation was basically a ‘he said, she said’ scenario, where they believed him over me,” Thomson said. “And that’s the way these things often go.”
She still wants Krauss to apologize, she said, and to withdraw his claim, made to BuzzFeed News and in a nine-page response to the article, that her complaint was “fabricated with malicious intent.”
“I call for him to retract his retaliatory, inflammatory, libelous remarks,” Thomson said.
I find the whole affair disappointing. I’ve had people ask to take a photo with me, I’ve never felt any urge to fondle them in response. It’s just sad when a smart guy is stuck with an adolescent emotional brain that leads him to misuse people that way.
I’ve known of college professors in the past who’ve screwed up this way, and have had to accept restrictions, like denial of promotions and strictly enforced policies with students, but they’ve managed to keep their jobs. I don’t see them getting away with slaps on the wrist anymore — ASU is a respectable university, which isn’t going to want confirmed harassers on their staff. I’m going to guess he won’t be associated with them much longer.
Although I could be wrong — some people seem to lead a charmed life, or maybe Chapman University and Scientific American and the ACSH don’t seem to care what kind of scum work for them. Maybe Krauss can find a position in one of those institutions if his situation at Arizona falls completely apart?