Thursday, April 28, 2005

I love

the Chronicle of Higher Education: their reporting is great, they've got an excellent website which I check daily for its advice columns & general stories. And even better, you sometimes catch a story like this one:

An 81-year-old professor of English at the State University of New York at New Paltz has been arrested and charged with sexually assaulting and abusing a female student.

Wade C. Thompson, who has taught at New Paltz for 40 years, has denied the charges, saying that he did have sexual relations with a 41-year-old student but that the encounter was consensual.

In a written statement, the New Paltz Police Department said that Mr. Thompson had struck the woman repeatedly around the body with a blunt object and had subjected her to unwanted sexual contact during the early-morning hours of April 19.

Mr. Thompson, who is married, resigned from the university on Tuesday and was released from police custody.

He said that the student, who was taking one of his courses, had been 'pursuing him in a sort of weird way,' sending him candy and flowers. He said that during the April 19 encounter, they did engage in 'sadomasochistic' sexual behavior, involving 'spankings and whippings with a belt,' but he said that there was 'no coercion of any kind' and that it was entirely voluntary on her part.

While the former professor acknowledged that his behavior was unprofessional, he said there was nothing illegal about it.
Mr. Thompson said the woman had walked out of his house 'very happy.' 'She kissed me goodbye,' he said. He plans to fight the charges.

A spokesman for the university declined to discuss the matter in detail, citing privacy concerns, but he said that Mr. Thompson has been barred from the campus.


  1. I guess octogenarian academics are feistier than I thought! I wonder what the recommended dosage of Viagra is for an S&M scenario of questionable voluntariness... I think I need to renew my CHS subscription!

  2. Yes--I don't mean to disrespect the complainant's concerns, it might well be that she is totally right, but the age detail is sort of great, isn't it?

  3. I can just picture it... It would make a great story! It does remind me, though, of when Naomi Wolf wrote about Harold Bloom harassing her... though no S&M there, just a hand on her knee, if I remember correctly (and maybe a proposition?).

  4. My Alma Mater. I remember this guy! What ever happened? Were the charges pursued?