Professor sues former student after sexual assault claims ignite multi-campus scandal
While the increased attention being paid to victims of sexual assault on American campuses is welcome, one Northwestern University professor is claiming that his career has been derailed by what he claims are false allegations and a rush to judgment — and he is suing the former student who accused him of sexually assaulting her.
Peter Ludlow filed the lawsuit — in which he claimed that the charges against him were “demonstrably false” — earlier this week in Cook County Circuit Court. The allegations against him originate from an outing in February 2012, in which Ludlow and the unnamed student attended an interactive art show in Chicago.
According to the student, Ludlow made unwanted sexual advances — he “kissed her and touched her ‘over her clothes'” — and after these were reported to university administration, he was found to have violated the school’s sexual harassment policy.
In his lawsuit, however, he noted that Northwestern “specifically declined to find that any sexual assault had occurred.”
The student took her allegations to Chicago’s local ABC and NBC affiliates, and in the course of interviews with them, the suit claimed, she made a number of false statements, including that Ludlow refused to take her home, and that she awoke in his bed with her blouse unbuttoned.
Before she made these allegations, Ludlow had accepted a position at Rutgers University’s Center for Cognitive Science — an offer that was withdrawn, he claimed in the lawsuit, because of the false allegations made against him.
According to the Evanston Review, he is suing her for defamation, false light invasion of privacy, intentional interference with employment contract and intentional interference with prospective employment, and seeking $120,000 in damages.
The situation has sparked protests on both the Northwestern — where Ludlow was forced to stop teaching his course in the Winter quarter, and did not teach in the Spring or Fall either — and Rutgers campuses.