USC grad student alleges sexual harassment by professor

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A USC grad student is alleging professor Erick Guerrero made inappropriate sexual advances. (KABC)

A University of Southern California grad student is leveling sexual harassment charges against a professor and saying the university failed to take appropriate action to discipline him and protect students.

Karissa Fenwick was getting her degree from USC when she claims associate professor Erick Guerrero made sexual advances during an academic conference in New Orleans.

Fewnwick says the behavior included "convincing me to come to his hotel room, including sitting me on his bed and leaning over and trying to kiss me. Only stopping once I started yelling in protest and ran past him out of the room."

She says he was in charge of the committee that controlled her doctoral dissertation and her future career.

"After realizing what he had done, the next day threatened her entire career if she were to come forward, said her attorney, John Winer."

She filed a lawsuit because she says after an investigation the school found there was inappropriate behavior but Guerrero was not fired and is still at the school.

Fenwick says "When I heard what the discipline was it sunk in they were actually keeping things quiet. And protecting him rather than protecting me and the other students."

Fenwick claims during the investigation Guerrero tried to turn things around and say he was known as the hot Latino professor.

"Now he is saying that she's coming forward because he's Latino and she's a person of white privilege - which is a disgusting thing for him to say," Winer said.

The university issued a statement which says in part:

"...He was barred from leadership positions, his office was relocated away from students, and he will not teach classes or supervise students for the current academic year and beyond. And he was warned that any recurrence could lead to dismissal."

Fenwick's attorney says there was another incident with a different student and professor Guerrero back in 2011. He believes now that this story is public there could be other women who come forward.

Related Topics:
educationuscsexual harassmentLos Angeles
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