A former student from Morehouse College is suing the school for neglecting to take action against a male professor who allegedly groped him and during a study abroad trip as well as conducted himself inappropriately among other students.
Project Q in Atlanta reported that the assistant professor, Robert Peterson, feels he is being targeted because he is gay.
On his LinkedIn profile, Peterson says:
For about 5 years I co-directed a study abroad program through Morehouse College, established to increase the number of black students who study abroad. The program enabled students to gain international experience in Brazil, Cuba, Ghana, and Ecuador.
Over the course of my teaching career, I have instructed 14 undergraduate courses. My philosophy is to design curriculum that inspires students to become excited about learning. I have a passion for teaching a culturally diverse student body, including different ages, races, religions, and socioeconomic backgrounds. I strive to establish a class setting that embraces mutual learning and creates a space for students to safely discuss challenging topics.
According to court documents, the unnamed student was a first-year student at the Atlanta college in May 2015 when he studied abroad in Brazil. Peterson allegedly ordered the student alcohol during the flight regardless of him being underage. He also groped his crotch approximately four different times during the flight from Miami to Brazil and the student pushed him away each time.
Now the student is seeking compensation because the school showed “deliberate indifference to known acts of harassment, sexual violence, discrimination and retaliation” says the lawsuit.
During the trip Peterson also made various students uncomfortable and created a sexually inappropriate learning environment by mimicking fellatio in front of African cultural sex symbols during a museum visit. He also allegedly sent photo messages of a man’s penis to students and called it a “shrimp salad/dinner” and multiple times asked students if they wanted a “shrimp dinner.” Peterson also offered alcoholic drinks to other underage students at a party he hosted in his hotel room and on another occasion he allegedly “touched or sucked a student’s nipple” while they were in a swimming pool.
According to AJC, complaints also mentioned that “Peterson was known as a professor that exchanged good grades for sex.”
The student who was allegedly groped began to suffer academically and he opted to leave Morehouse in the fall of 2017. He filed a complaint in December 2017, but the school claims they never received it. Peterson was placed on administrative leave when the student re-filed the complaint in January 2018. During this time an investigation took place where Peterson denied the allegations and insisted that the students did not like that he was gay so they came after him. According to LinkedIn, he stopped working teaching at Morehouse in May 2018.
The student filed a lawsuit with the Fulton County Superior Court against Morehouse College in November and seeks monetary and punitive damages.