Dartmouth students file lawsuit in sexual harassment case

HANOVER, N.H. (WCAX) Seven current and former Dartmouth students have filed a lawsuit saying the college failed to protect them from sexual harassment at the hands of three psychology professors let go earlier this year.

The $70 million federal lawsuit was filed Thursday in federal court in New Hampshire. It claims that the three professors-- Todd Heatherton, William Kelley and Paul Whalen-- "leered at, groped, sexted," and "intoxicated" students. One former student alleges she was raped by Kelley and a current student alleges she was raped by Whalen.

The students claim that when they reported the treatment, college officials did nothing and allowed the behavior to continue until last spring when one professor retired and the other two resigned.

The professors were accused last year of creating a "hostile academic environment" marked by excessive drinking, favoritism and, at times, inappropriate behavior. In a letter to the Dartmouth community this summer, Dartmouth College President Phil Hanlon said that sexual misconduct and harassment have no place at the Ivy League school.

In a written statement, a Dartmouth spokesman said that college officials "applaud the courage displayed by members of our community within the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences (PBS) who brought the misconduct allegations to Dartmouth’s attention last year... but strongly, disagree with the characterizations of Dartmouth’s actions in the complaint and will respond through our own court filings."