Archive for category sexual predators

Police Seek LV Victims of Alleged Sexual Predator

Seth Mull’s Facebook profiles (he has three of them) show a muscular man who has lived in Honolulu, Pittsburgh and the Lehigh Valley. He claims to be a personal trainer. His photos show him with a black lab, but no family. They also show someone who fr…

Dr. Thode: LU Needs to Ban Sexual Relations Between Faculty and Students

The recent disclosures of sexual misconduct by film producer Harvey Weinstein have cast a bright light on the Hollywood culture which permits such behavior to continue even when it is well-known. But, sexual harassment isn’t just a Hollywood problem. It can be a problem for any organization that is permissive of such behavior.
Almost 25 years ago, my employer, Lehigh University, first sought to codify its policy on sexual harassment. When that proposed policy was brought to the faculty for approval, I rose in opposition, and not because I thought the policy was too tough. Quite the contrary, I felt the policy was too weak. Instead of outright prohibiting sexual relationships between faculty members and their students, and between supervisors and their supervisees, the proposed policy used language like: “an instructor (e.g., advisor, course instructor, teaching assistant) should avoid developing a romantic or sexual relationship with a student taught, advised, or supervised by that instructor.”; and, “a supervisor should avoid developing a romantic or sexual relationship with an employee.” (Emphasis mine)
I asked my fellow faculty to draw a clear line and replace the word “should” with the word “must.” While some applauded me, others jeered. I then asked those who jeered to cite a single example where it was appropriate for an instructor to engage in a sexual relationship with one of their students, or, a supervisor to engage in a sexual relationship with one of their supervisees.
Silence.
My point was (and is) a simple one: a romantic or sexual relationship between an instructor (supervisor) and a student (supervisee) should never be assumed to be consensual. The instructor (supervisor) has power over the student (supervisee). It is not a relationship of peers.
Nevertheless, the language was not amended, and “should avoid” was codified as official Lehigh University sexual harassment policy.
Nearly a quarter century later, Lehigh has spent untold dollars to hire additional staff devoted to issues of harassment and discrimination, and to require all faculty, staff and students to complete annual training on harassment and discrimination. You would think that Lehigh might have strengthened its official sexual harassment policy.
You would be wrong. The current sexual harassment policy (found on Page 180 here:http://www.lehigh.edu/~inprv/pdfs/active_pdf_forms/RULES_PROCEDURES_MAY2017.pdf) still uses the original language. To wit:
“Supervisory Conflict of Interest  A supervisor should avoid developing a romantic or sexual relationship with an employee. Similarly, an instructor (e.g., advisor, course instructor, teaching assistant) should avoid developing a romantic or sexual relationship with a student taught, advised, or supervised by that instructor.” (Emphasis mine)
Compare Lehigh’s sexual harassment policy with that of Lafayette (which can be found here:https://sash.lafayette.edu/lafayette-college-policy-on-sexual-harassment/):
“While a student is a student of a particular instructor/staff member, the instructor/staff member shall not ask the student for a sexual favor or in other ways make a sexual advance to the student. While a student is a student of a particular instructor/staff member, any romantic advance or sexual relationship between the student and the particular instructor/staff member is prohibited. This rule applies even if the romantic advance or sexual relationship is welcome.” (Emphasis mine)
Or, the sexual harassment policy of Moravian College (which can be found here: https://www.moravian.edu/policy/sexual-misconduct):
“Additionally, employees of the College may be charged with sexual harassment when romantic/intimate relationships occur between students and College faculty or other members of the administration and staff who teach or exercise authority over students, who provide counseling, advising, and mentoring to students, or who assess and evaluate student academic, artistic, or athletic performance. The College prohibits these relationships, whether consensual or nonconsensual, due to the existing power differential and possibility of abuse and favoritism.” (Emphasis mine)
I urge all companies, all organizations, and all colleges and universities to review their sexual harassment policies to insure that any behaviors that may lead to abuse or favoritism are strictly prohibited.
Stephen F. Thode has been on the faculty of Lehigh University’s College of Business and Economics since 1982 

Blogger’s Note – The op-ed above was rejected by The Morning Call on the basis that Lehigh bans rides to Space Mountain between faculty and students. But the plain language of the policy makes clear that it is permitted. 

Sexual Harassment and My Own Sad Story

Forget the opioid epidemic, there’s a new public health crisis in town. It seems that everyone has been subjected to horrifying sexual abuse in their teens or early twenties. Then, fifty years later, just as Alzheimers is set to take over, they come fo…

Accused Sex Predator Caught on Camera During Sting

DUNMORE– Authorities say when Brandon Turner arrived in the parking lot of a drugstore in Dunmore he was expecting to meet a 14-year-old girl. Instead he was arrested by local police and special agents from the state. Investigators say Turner,27, had placed an ad online looking for a high school student to have sex with. […]

NFL Cheerleader Rapes 15 YO Boy?

A former NFL cheerleader has been charged with rape and other acts of unlawful sexual contact with a 15-year old boy. When I was a 15-year old boy, I used to dream that would happen.Though this is not in the news account, I understand the young man is …