Pogge Attempted To Halt Investigation


Thomas Pogge (Yale), who has been in the news recently regarding allegations of sexual harassment, tried to halt the investigation into his treatment of and interactions with former Yale student Fernanda Lopez Aguilar, according to a report at The Huffington Post:

The star Yale University philosophy professor accused of sexually harassing a former student attempted to halt an investigation into her claims, confidential documents obtained by The Huffington Post reveal.

Thomas Pogge accused McAllister Olivarius, a law firm investigating the allegations, of spreading lies about him and causing stress that contributed to his heart attack, according to a 2012 complaint he filed with the New York Committee on Professional Standards.

The committee ultimately dismissed Pogge’s complaint, and legal ethics experts say his allegations appear to have had little merit…

In his Oct. 2, 2012 complaint, he said the law firm lied about him while cold-contacting students he’d worked with to ask them about his behavior. He demanded that it be investigated, sanctioned and forced to reveal the full list of individuals it had contacted…

Additionally, Pogge alleged the firm’s staff members lied about having “testimony that they did not in fact possess,” causing him undue stress…

But the New York Committee on Professional Standards didn’t agree that McAllister Olivarius had acted unprofessionally and dismissed the complaint…

“It seems to me that his allegations are ridiculous,” said Nancy J. Moore, an expert in attorney ethics at Boston University School of Law. “They are investigating her claims, and to the extent there was any kind of pattern here, that would be relevant to the lawsuit.”

New York University law professor Stephen Gillers agreed. He said that if someone felt a law firm was defaming them, as Pogge claimed, it would have been more appropriate for him to file a lawsuit against the attorneys.

“The fact [the committee] dismissed it even without a lawsuit pending tells you that they thought the complaint had no merit,” Gillers said… 

And on the heart attack, Pogge says:

“By the end of this summer I suffered a heart attack with my [primary care physician] commenting that I am the very last person he would have deemed at risk. I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, (never have), I am not overweight (143 lbs), I have not owned a car for decade (doing everything by bicycle), and my cholesterol on the day of the heart attack was in the 160s.”

 

Sometimes the hardest part of this job is not commenting.

(HuffPost article via Eric Schliesser. By the way, check out the comments at D&I.)

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D.C.
D.C.
5 years ago

“He said that if someone felt a law firm was defaming them, as Pogge claimed, it would have been more appropriate for him to file a lawsuit against the attorneys.”

As a side note, finding (and paying) an attorney to file a defamation lawsuit is far, far more resource- and time-intensive than simply filing an ethics complaint.Report

Kathryn Pogin
Kathryn Pogin
5 years ago

“A student who later dated Pogge, and wrote anonymously about her affair with him in April 2014, said he told her that his heart attack had been caused by something else entirely — the stress of ending a relationship with another student in 2012. The first student made the claim in a 2014 affidavit and reaffirmed it in a recent conversation with HuffPost.” (From article linked above)

“I would welcome the opportunity to challenge her allegations in a proper judicial forum.” (From response to FLA’s allegations)

I do hope he’s doing better health-wise now, though. Report

Fred Marcus
Fred Marcus
Reply to  Kathryn Pogin
5 years ago

That is just in bad taste. Report

Kathryn Pogin
Kathryn Pogin
Reply to  Fred Marcus
5 years ago

Quoting the article, him, or expressing hope that his health has improved?Report

Fred Marcus
Fred Marcus
Reply to  Kathryn Pogin
5 years ago

Wishing him good health. Report

Jeff H
Jeff H
Reply to  Fred Marcus
5 years ago

I share Kathryn’s puzzlement at why you find this in poor taste.

One thing I do see online a lot – I’m not sure if this is what Fred is doing, but it feels uncomfortably similar – is responding to “problematic” behaviour with ill-wishing, up to and including telling people they should commit suicide. But I would hope this attitude, which I see mostly in teenagers in the more “social justice”-y corners of Tumblr, would not also be found here in what one assumes is mostly an audience of professional philosophers. One can find a person odious, think they shouldn’t be allowed near students, even consider them dangerous, without at the same time wishing death or serious health problems on them. It’s not virtuous to want bad things to happen to people who do bad things, especially not bad things unrelated to their behavior.Report

Fred Marcus
Fred Marcus
Reply to  Jeff H
5 years ago

It is precisely because of its Tumblresque nature that I find the original poster’s comment in bad taste. Despite the poster’s denial, given what is quoted in the comment it certainly doesn’t come across as sincere. Surely the best way to invoke/express sympathy for his poor health is not to remind the reader that he lied, while engaging in yet more problematic behavior. Report

Kathryn Pogin
Kathryn Pogin
Reply to  Jeff H
5 years ago

Well, to anyone who thought it wasn’t sincere, I apologize for giving that impression — but it seemed to me the post left out information that was relevant, and that it would be in bad taste to not express hope that his health has improved when one does so hope. I don’t wish ill-health on anyone — regardless of whatever they have or have not done. Report

Kathryn Pogin
Kathryn Pogin
Reply to  Kathryn Pogin
5 years ago

Oh. I’m not sure why. It was sincere. I really do hope his health has improved. Report

postdoc
postdoc
5 years ago

Delia Graff Fara’s comment at Leiter is worth checking out as well. Report

Matt Weiner
Matt Weiner
Reply to  postdoc
5 years ago

Also found here: https://feministphilosophers.wordpress.com/2016/05/24/another-pogge-story/

(Just to make it easier to find without scrolling through Leiter’s front page.)Report