Dartmouth College got hit with a $70 million lawsuit this week. The suit was brought by six women who say three former professors at the Ivy League college maintained a culture of rape, discrimination, and sexual harassment.
The suit claims that tenured psychology professors were essentially a “predatory club” that sexually abused female students for 16 years, according to the BBC.
The federal lawsuit was filed on Thursday, and it does not name the three Dartmouth professors as defendants. The suit lists Dartmouth trustees as the target of the suit.
According to the suit, Dartmouth ignored “bad behavior” carried out by Professors William Kelley, Paul Whalen, and Todd Heatherton. There are six women listed in the suit. A seventh woman, listed only as “Jane Doe,” says the professors hired young, attractive women to work in the labs and treated these women as “sex objects.”
The three professors invited students to parties, sent them photographs, groped women, and committed sexual assault, the suit claims.
Dartmouth denies the allegations. One of the professors, Todd Heatherton, has responded to the suit through his lawyer, Julie Moore. He says the claims have been “grossly mischaracterized” and “categorically denies” the charges.
He also denies having any sexual relations with students, and says he was not aware of any inappropriate sexual behavior from the other two men listed in the suit.
The other two professors have not responded to media requests for comment. Representatives for Dartmouth College have also declined to comment.
Kristina Rapuano, one of the plaintiffs, says that Professor Kelley forced her to drink heavily with him at a conference, then raped her. Plaintiff Vassiki Chauhan describes a similar incident taking place between her and Professor Whalen.
One student reported to being groped by Professor Heatherton, but was told by a college official not to “make a fuss.”
The three professors named in the suit were part of the Department of Psychology and Brain Sciences, according to ABC News.
All of the women in the suit have completed their doctorates in brain science. They say that Dartmouth “willfully ignored more than a decade of widespread sexual harassment.”
They say the college received complaints in 2002 and 2005, but took no action.
Dartmouth did investigate the three professors in 2017, but the findings were not released. All three professors resigned or retired soon after.
The plaintiffs are demanding the school fix the “hostile environment,” in addition to $70 million in damages.
Dartmouth is an Ivy League school. It was founded in 1769.