More Women Say They Were Raped, Assaulted in Dartmouth Neuroscience Department

May 2, 2019

Moore Hall, home to Dartmouth's Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences
Credit Britta Greene / New Hampshire Public Radio

Two additional women have joined a $70 million class-action lawsuit against Dartmouth College stemming from allegations of sexual misconduct and assault in the school’s prestigious Psychological and Brain Sciences Department.

The women, identified anonymously in an amended complaint filed Wednesday, say they were harassed by tenured faculty over a number of years.

One says she was raped and repeatedly assaulted while working as a research assistant in the department after her undergraduate graduation in 2012, five years before the college took action against the professors named in the suit. She suffered from the severe depression and has since left the field, the complaint states.

The second, a graduate student and post-doctoral fellow in the department from 2003 to 2009, says she was coerced into a sexual relationship with a professor for years.

The total number of plaintiffs in the suit is now nine.

Neither of the recently added plaintiffs participated in the college’s investigations of the former professors – Todd Heatherton, Bill Kelley and Paul Whalen – which began in 2017 and concluded with the departure of all three men.

The first says she questioned the confidentiality of her testimony based on interactions with the investigator.

The second says she feared retaliation. The complaint alleges Department Chair David Bucci contacted her ahead of the investigator, saying he had always been aware of rumors about her sexual relationships. Bucci remains in his leadership position in the department.

“It is critically important that community members feel confident that they can report misconduct, that their voices will be heard, and that Dartmouth will take immediate and meaningful action,” wrote Dartmouth spokesperson Diana Lawrence in a statement Thursday. The college is investigating the new allegations, she wrote.

A trial is scheduled for 2021. A separate criminal probe by the New Hampshire Attorney General's Office is ongoing. 

Read the full amended complaint here: