WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue University was hit with a lawsuit after an undergraduate student said a tenured professor sexually assaulted her, and she says the school didn’t do enough to protect her.
The student says Lance Duerfarhrd told her she didn’t have to worry about her performance in class and she would get better grades if she complied with his sexual demands.
According to the lawsuit, he repeatedly tried to have sex with her, and at one point, he told her “I think you want me to rape you.”
He even told the student to “move in” with him so they can “have sex every day, every hour.”
The student said his advances began to take a severe physical and mental toll on her. She was worried about her grade in the class, so she went to his office to speak with him. He proceeded to make sexually explicit comments to her, and he sexually assaulted her.
She says he warned her about telling anyone because he could lose his job. He even took her phone, and deleted incriminating messages himself.
The lawsuit claims Duerfarhrd was known within the English department to have inappropriate relationships with female students since at least 2012.
Kristensen Weisberg, LLP is the law firm representing the student. They are asking any other possible victims to come forward.
Officials with Purdue say they haven’t received any notice of the lawsuit. The university issued this statement:
Purdue has not yet received the complaint announced by the California law firm’s press release, but we are well familiar with the underlying matter. Upon receiving notice of the allegations, the university acted swiftly and decisively. In fact, it would be difficult to find a more clear example of Purdue’s intolerance of this type of misconduct.
Immediately upon learning of the complaint against Mr. Duerfahrd, Purdue placed him on leave, ordered him to have no contact with students, and launched an investigation. Upon conclusion of the investigation, which substantiated the claim, Mr. Duerfahrd resigned under threat of termination. The entire matter was resolved in a matter of months.
Purdue takes very seriously its responsibility to provide a safe education environment for it students. The university does not and will not tolerate such misconduct by any member of its community, including faculty, regardless of their rank or tenure. This case proves it.