Paul L. Caron

Monday, May 13, 2019

Illinois Econ Professor Resigns After He Admits Sharing Photos With Student But Denies Sex-For-Grade Allegation; Accuser Is Arrested On Related Charge

Illinois 2Chronicle of Higher Education, Student Who Accused Professor of Sex-for-Grades Harassment Is Arrested on Related Charge:

A clinical professor of economics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign says the sexual-harassment investigation against him was supposed to end when he agreed to retire. The university contends the inquiry involving Joseph A. Petry remains open.

But the dispute over his employment isn’t the only puzzling development in the drama that has enveloped Petry.

This week the woman who had accused him of asking her for sex in exchange for raising her grade was criminally charged, along with another student, in a bizarre incident that involved holding another student at knifepoint. The police said Petry’s accuser, Summer S. Naqvi, deleted information from her former boyfriend’s computer and phone while her friend allegedly held a knife to the ex-boyfriend’s throat. The ex-boyfriend wasn’t physically hurt, and he told the police he believed the information Naqvi was after related to her harassment complaint against Petry. ...

Petry, who was placed on leave in February, has admitted sharing photos and “communications of a social nature” with Navqi, a former student he met on a social-media platform. In a statement released through his lawyer on Tuesday, he denied offering to raise her grade in exchange for sexual favors. He said their communications happened nine months after the class had ended, and he didn’t know she was a former student. That’s not surprising, he said, because in a typical semester he has at least 1,000 students.

Petry said that his communications with the student were always consensual and that she had asked him to send her pictures on Snapchat because “the pictures disappear on there and it’s totally safe to use.”

He said that when he met with the student in September in his office, “it became clear to me that this individual was focused on convincing me to change her grade from the prior year, or to provide assurance that, if she retook my class, I would give her an A. I said I was not willing to do either of these things.” He said he didn’t see or hear from her after that.

The accusations against Petry came to light last month, when Naqvi wrote about them anonymously on the social-medial platform Reddit. On Sunday she repeated those accusations on Facebook, using her name.

In her Facebook post she said Petry had “relentlessly sent messages and pictures to me, attempting to solicit pictures back, sex in exchange for an A+ in his class, and even attempted to pay me to have sex with him. Even though I came forward to campus police with evidence, including unwanted text messages and pictures in the fall of 2018, the university did not put him on administrative leave until months later,” she wrote. “I am disappointed that they would continue to let him teach during these months because other girls may have fallen victim to sexual harassment from him.”

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