KU Leuven professor sentenced to prison for raping student in Spain

KU Leuven professor sentenced to prison for raping student in Spain
Credit: Belga

On Thursday morning, a Belgian professor at the KU Leuven university was sentenced to 54 months in prison for the rape of a student in Barcelona in the summer of 2016.

In 2016, the professor had asked one of his students to join him for a congress in Barcelona, Spain, promising that she could give a speech there, but that turned out not to be true. On the last day, the professor took the student to a room of a B&B that he had booked for one night and raped her, reports Het Nieuwsblad.

"As a former teacher and promoter of her master's thesis, he grossly abused his position," the verdict reads. "It was a shocking and perverse game where the professor manipulated her, while she aspired to a career in the field."

When the woman returned from the trip, she could not deal with the trauma and was admitted to a psychiatric institution several times. She also tried to commit suicide before then reporting the rape to the police in March 2018.

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The police launched an investigation, but the professor denied that it was rape. According to the court's verdict, "he enjoyed his physical and psychological position of power" and there was "a total lack of sense of norms, as well as a perverse and sick attitude."

The court imposed a 54-month prison sentence and the professor was immediately arrested. He will also have to pay compensation of €27,014 to the victim. KU Leuven filed a civil suit as well, and will receive a symbolic €1.

Those in need of a listening ear or with any questions about suicide can contact the Suicide Line anonymously on the toll-free number 1813 or at www.zelfmoord1813.be in Dutch, at 0800 32 123 in French, or at 02 648 40 14 in English.

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