Approved ~~ MJM
A former student alleges in a lawsuit against Eckerd College that a professor fondled himself in front of her and subjected her to other sexual exploitation while she worked as his assistant.
In addition, the lawsuit says, a top Eckerd official warned her against pursuing a formal complaint and she was forced to withdraw from the the private liberal arts college.
The lawsuit, filed Dec. 16 in Pinellas Circuit Court, says David Hastings, a professor of marine science and chemistry known for his talks on the danger of plastics, hired the student in May 2018 to work as a research assistant in the geochemistry lab. She received a $3,000 stipend and free housing.
The lawsuit details several instances of sexual harassment the following summer, alleging that Hastings told an acquaintance the student was his girlfriend, prevailed on her to drive him to and from the airport, insisted she enter his home to discuss private matters, and masturbated in front of her in his office during the work day.