Renowned Ethics Professor Accused of Sexual Assault

Thomas Pogge, a well-known Global Justice professor at Yale University, has been accused of sexual harassment by a former student.

BuzzFeed News reports that Fernanda Lopez Aguilar, who graduated from Yale in 2010, has accused her former professor of sexually harassing her and then retaliating against her for speaking out by retracting an offer for a fellowship position.

Also troubling is the fact that Yale apparently knew about these allegations, and failed to take them seriously or investigate the claims. A federal complaint filed against Yale claims that the school violated gender equity laws several times between 2010 and 2015 by mishandling the accusations against Pogge, and by placing a gag order on Aguilar, who was paid $2,000 by Yale to keep quiet about her allegations, the Huffington Post reports.

This is not the first time Pogge has faced these types of accusations. In the 1990s his student at Columbia University accused him of sexual harassment. He faced the same charges again in 2014, when a Ph.D. student at a European university accused him of proposing career opportunities to her and other young women as a guise to starting a sexual relationship, BuzzFeed reports.

Lopez Aguilar began working for Pogge and the Global Justice Program in 2010. In June of that year she accompanied Pogge to a Yale Law School conference in Chile. This is when he began acting inappropriately towards her, she said in her complaint, by flirting and suggesting that they share a hotel room. 

This behavior became worse over the course of the trip, according to Aguilar's complaint. The weird flirtations soon progressed to Pogge groping Aguilar while she was sitting at her desk trying to do work one night. She ran out of the room, but had nowhere to go. Defeated, she went back to the hotel room, Gchatted her boyfriend and went to sleep. 

Lopez Aguilar was promised a job for Pogge that upcoming fall, so she decided to try to stay cordial for the sake of work. However, upon showing up to the Global Justice Institute at Yale, where Pogge said she would be a part-time fellow, the university found that she was never actually employed. Pogge then blamed Aguilar for getting him into "trouble," and cut all ties to her in August 2010.

That is when Aguilar hit her breaking point with Pogge. She decided to report to Yale that Pogge sexually harassed her during the Chile trip.

In December 2010, Yale offered to pay Lopez Aguilar $2,000, money that she believed she was owed for work she did for Pogge over the summer. However, the money came with one condition: she must sign an agreement to never publicly discuss or bring a lawsuit to her claim that Pogge sexually harassed her, according to the Huffington Post.

Pogge was cleared of the allegations of sexual assault by a Yale panel. However, the panel did report that Pogge “created an intimate and unprofessional atmosphere” with Lopez Aguilar and that “we question Prof. Pogge’s judgment,” according to BuzzFeed (which totally sounds like sexual harassment in the first place). The only thing that he was charged with? Misuse of Yale stationery to forge documents of Aguilar's employment. Clearly, using paper in the wrong way is more important than using woman in a wrong way. 

On Sunday, Pogge denied Lopez Aguilar’s claims, telling the Huffington Post via email that they were a result of her being upset that he turned her down for a job at Yale. However, many more women of diverse backgrounds are coming forward to say that they experiences similar advances from the professor. With that in mind, Aguilar seems to be the one telling the truth in this situation. One of the most "ethical" men in the global justice world is exerting his power over non-Western, younger women in order to hit on them? How ironic.