Here we go again, another predatory professor


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.

Comments

  1. garnetstar says

    “On five separate occasions, he initiated and engaged in nonconsensual sexual contact with each student” Isn’t that called “rape”?

    Well, I guess that universities, or other institutions, have to start acting on the principle that holds with other sexual predators, and that the Catholic church learned: predators aren’t going to stop their activities. No assurances of “stopping” or “better behavior” on their part should be believed.

    As if one instance of such conduct is not enough to fire someone! Now they really need to take that to heart.

  2. Curious Digressions says

    Droit du seigneur. It’s what the current crop of white supremacists are fighting to maintain.
    :(

  3. PaulBC says

    There seems to be a level of prestige where you pick up a lot of entirely knowing enablers, probably because in some sense they believe you should be allowed to get away with stuff (kind like Trump’s “when you’re a star, they let you”).

    This would be more obvious to those living in a different culture or different historical period. The problem is that modern American culture is built on the myth of meritocracy. We’re way too inclined to assume that good character and all sorts of other things are packaged together in something called “merit” when all we ever really measure (if that) is achievement in one specialty.

    I am certain that the “elite” are on average of worse character than “normal” people if only because we let them get away with it, and often we even go out of our way to support them just to bask in their merity glow.

  4. thirdmill301 says

    As disturbing as the sexual assaults are, it’s even more disturbing that he didn’t even bother to hide it. One of the news reports said that a male student went to bed drunk and woke up to find lubricant on his penis and rectum, and used tissues on the floor by the bed. One would think he would have at least tried to hide it by disposing of obvious evidence. That’s basically says, “Yeah, I raped you, what are you going to do about it?” That kind of arrogance is just breathtaking.

  5. zoniedude says

    Hey, you are overlooking that he liked beer. That overcomes everything. He could be a U.S. Supreme Court justice: he went to Yale, he attacked women, he lied about it, and he likes beer. Get with the program dude.

  6. redwood says

    PZ, you’re just not studying the right critters. No monkeying around for you, though you could weave a tangled web to deceive.

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