Dr D. Eugene Redmond of the Yale Medical School had a research facility on St Kitts — how nice, to have a tropical retreat for your work — where he studied vervet monkeys, and where he brought many students to work with him. There’d been rumblings of problems in 1994, which led to the shutdown of an internship program there, but did not cause any perturbations in Redmond’s employment, or his research practices, and he kept on flying off to St Kitts with students. He had some odd research requirements.
Yale President Peter Salovey ordered the investigation of Redmond on Jan. 28, hiring former U.S. Attorney Deirdre Daly, now an attorney with Finn Dixon & Herling in Stamford, to lead it. According to the 54-page report, delivered to Salovey on Aug. 14, Daly’s team found at least 16 instances of sexual abuse or misconduct involving Redmond.
“Based on our investigation, we have concluded that Redmond sexually assaulted five students in St. Kitts while he was a Yale professor. These assaults occurred on five separate occasions, when he initiated and engaged in nonconsensual sexual contact with each student,” the report states. “Each of these incidents occurred in a bedroom that Redmond required each student to share with him and after each of the students had been drinking with Redmond.”
The investigation also found Redmond had conducted three “purported medical exams of students that included inappropriate genital and/or rectal exams” and other acts “involving at least eight other undergraduates or recent graduates and one high school student in St. Kitts, New Haven, and other locations. Two of the assaults and two of the exams occurred in the early 1990s; the remaining three assaults and the third exam occurred between 2010 and 2017. Most of the other misconduct occurred after 2005,” the report states.
He required students to drink with him, and share his bedroom? The alarms are blaring right there. I’m trying to figure out what rationale a guy who studied vervet monkeys used to insist on genital examinations of his students. There was funny stuff going on there.
Not just at St Kitts, either. He seemed to be perving everywhere.
New Haven and Yale police also informed St. Kitts police about Redmond’s alleged misconduct. Inappropriate conduct also took place in Redmond’s home in New Haven, on Yale’s campus and other off-campus locations, according to the report.
The report also slaps Yale on the wrist. Administrators conveniently looked the other way for years.
“More concerning, however, was [Yale Medical School’s] failure to implement any meaningful monitoring mechanisms to ensure ongoing oversight of Redmond and student activity at the St. Kitts facility. Redmond’s false representations … that he had terminated the program created a false sense of confidence that his misconduct had stopped. In fact, at least by 2001, Redmond returned to recruiting students to work with him in St. Kitts, and required some of them to share a bedroom with him.”
The investigation found that 20 students worked with Redmond in St. Kitts between 2001 and 2017, three of whom he assaulted.
“Redmond failed to honor his representations to Yale after the 1994 complaints; breached a policy the St. Kitts facility put in place after the 1994 investigation, which required separate housing for students and faculty; and violated a Settlement Agreement he entered into with a student that required Redmond to eliminate the program, to cease all recruiting and supervision of students in St. Kitts, and to abide by the separate housing policy,” the investigation found.
“We found no evidence that any faculty, staff, or administrators at Yale had actual knowledge of Redmond’s sexual misconduct before it was reported,” the report states. “Nevertheless, it is equally clear that if Yale had implemented a longstanding monitoring program after the 1994 investigation, Redmond’s ongoing misconduct might well have been detected and stopped. In addition, at various points after 1994, several members of the Yale community had concerns about Redmond’s [three] subsequent interactions with certain students, which, if they had pursued, might have prompted Yale to further scrutinize Redmond’s conduct and potentially uncover his misconduct.”
They are, presumably, making some policy changes now, but it’s damning that they let this wealthy professor frolic for a quarter century before bringing the hammer down. Also, unsurprisingly, once the investigation turned serious, Redmond neatly retired, escaping any penalty for his actions.
I would like to point out that working with spiders in Minnesota seems to provide few excuses for sexually harassing students, but apparently if an industrious, motivated professor could find a way to turn studying vervet monkeys into an opportunity to get into students’ pants, it could be done. Except that I have no interest in treating students that way. I guess that’s why Redmond was at Yale, while I’m at a small state school — I lack that kind of ambition.