8 women sue former University of Michigan professor for sexual misconduct

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Amelia Brown is one of eight women suing the University of Michigan and its former professor Bruce Conforth – accusing her of rape, harassment and unwanted sexual advances and UM mishandling complaints about her actions .

“During those office hours behind closed doors, Bruce forcefully kissed and groped me and from then on he aggressively pursued and harassed me via email, social media and even by presenting at my workplace,” she said.

Katherine McMahan says she first spoke about Conforth at UM in 2008.

“The university had the opportunity to act 14 years ago and they chose to pretend and turn a blind eye as his behavior grew more egregious and violent. Bruce went from assaulting me in a bar raping women in his office,” Mc Mahan said.

UM’s new president, Santa Ono, has said tackling college sexual misconduct is one of his top priorities — and these Michigan graduates are holding him back.

“President Ono, the university has sent us to court. Are you going to do the same or are you going to meet with us and sort things out?” said Kristen Beecy.

The female presser comes a week after a claims court judge dismissed one of two sexual assault and harassment cases against the professor, UM, and his board, saying the women had expected more two years to file a lawsuit.

“It’s an outdated law, it doesn’t protect survivors – it protects institutions,” said Daniel Barnett, Grewal Law.

Barnett, their attorney, says they are appealing that decision and the law, which requires a two-year window to place too much on the shoulders of victims.

“They expect 18, 19, 20 year olds to not only know they’ve been abused, to understand they’ve been sexually abused, but also to have the means to say: “Oh yeah, so I can sue the person who did it and the university,” Barnett/

The legal team representing Conforth and the university was unavailable for comment. Some UM administrators watched the press conference on Friday.

The university had this to say when asked for comment:

“We will continue to speak in court with the parties and their attorneys.”

There is yet another lawsuit pending in Washtenaw County Circuit Court alleging civil rights violations.

It’s unclear how the claims tribunal’s decision will affect this lawsuit.

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