CCSU Professor on Leave Amid Sexual Misconduct Investigation

Central Connecticut State University is responding after a student-run newspaper published a report alleging sexual misconduct against a professor and the professor has been placed on paid administrative leave while the school “fully and aggressively” investigates “the totality of allegations” of sexual misconduct.

The university has also retained the services of the law firm Shipman & Goodwin to review the alleged allegations and CCSU President Zulma Toro said his executive committee is conducting its own comprehensive investigation.

Freshman Rachael Devellis said she read the article in the school’s paper, The Recorder, and people are talking about it.

“I just heard that people are shocked,” she said. “It seems like it was kind of a while ago and we’re just hearing about it now.”

The article details accusations of sexual misconduct by a professor -- some dating back as far as 2004.

“I was pretty surprised to hear it,” freshman Alexandra Opoka said.

The university put out a statement from Toro in response to the article saying in part, “What I read in the article is truly disturbing and surprising to me. It does not represent who we are as a public institution of higher education or who we are as faculty, mentors, and advisers.”

It goes on to say they are conducting multiple investigations using internal and external resources.

“As part of our due diligence, I have also asked an external agency with experience in situations of this nature to conduct a full investigation. Once I receive the results of these investigations, I will determine the next steps and will keep you informed,” the statement read.

NBC Connecticut reached out the faculty member named in the article. He responded in an email.

“All of these allegations have already been dealt with by the university. I am happy to participate in any further investigations,” he wrote.

On Wednesday, he said he is cooperating fully with the university.

On Wednesday morning, the CCSU released another statement and said the professor has been placed on leave.

“The past 24 hours have been very stressful for some of you after hearing reports of alleged sexual misconduct by one of our professors. I want you to know that we hear you. While participating in last night’s “Take Back The Night” event on campus, I was especially moved by our students who were brave enough to share their experiences with sexual assault, dating violence, and sexual harassment.

“This morning, we start anew, ensuring the CCSU campus is the welcoming, safe campus it should be,” the statement says, in part.

The statement goes on to say:

“Getting to the bottom of how reports of alleged sexual misconduct were handled in the past and setting a new standard for their handling in the future is of the utmost importance to me – as the leader of this University and, quite frankly, as a woman in a male dominated field who has experienced the intended and unintended effects of sexual misconduct,” Toro wrote. “As I told our students last night: the Central Family does not stand by – we stand up.”

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