CONCORD, N.H. (CBS) — Dartmouth College is being sued by seven current and former students who allege that a “predators’ club” of professors “sexually assaulted, sexually harassed, and raped” women in their department.

The $70 million lawsuit filed Thursday claims professors in the psychology and brain science departments would delay exams, withhold meetings and even threaten the research of women who rejected their advances.

A court filing details the “21st Century Animal House” culture allegedly created by tenured professors Todd Heatherton, William Kelley and Paul Whalen. It describes late-night “hot tub parties” at professors’ homes and cocaine use in class. The lawsuit also claims the professors hired mostly young, attractive female students as part of a competition to have “the hottest lab.”

The Dartmouth College campus (Image credit: CBS This Morning)

Cognitive neuroscientists Vassiki Chauhan, 27, and Kristina Rapuano, 30, both told CBS This Morning they were raped by former Dartmouth professors. Rapuano said Kelley raped her while they attended a conference in California in 2015, He told her they had sex after a night of drinking but she had no memory of it.

Chauhan said she was raped at Whalen’s home.

Kristina Rapuano and Vassiki Chauhan (Image credit: CBS This Morning)

“I tried to get out of the situation as soon as possible. It was only when he started reaching for more intimate parts of my body that I was unambiguous about the fact that this is not something I wanted,” Chauhan said.

Other students say they felt pressured to participate in the “boys club” in order to succeed academically. One first-year graduate student told CBS This Morning Whalen “openly bragged about retaliation” to her.

Two of the professors named in the suit have resigned; one retired last year. But the women allege Dartmouth has known about sexual misconduct in the department for more than a decade. One plaintiff says she was raped by Whalen 20 days after fellow students filed a Title IX complaint.

Heatherton denies ever having sex with students but told CBS This Morning he “acted unprofessionally while intoxicated” and apologized. Attempts to reach Kelley and Whalen were unsuccessful.


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