Belgian ex-professor risks prison for sexually harassing students

Belgian ex-professor risks prison for sexually harassing students
Credit: Pxhere

A former professor (47) at a Leuven university college stood trial on Tuesday for the sexual harassment and assault of several of his students in 2015 and 2016.

The man was a lecturer in economics at UCLL, a university college in Leuven. For two years, he contacted several female students with a private email address to let them participate in a "new study on relationships, sports, sexuality, leisure, body, love and relationships," he said.

The first days, the study seemed to be a serious investigation, but it did not take long for the questions to become suggestive, such as "On a scale of 1 to 10, how horny are you?" or "What is the colour of your pubic hair?" The students received such emails day and night, and some of them were also called into the professor's office, and groped.

A total of 14 students had complaints about the bizarre questions and the strange behaviour of the professor. Ultimately, three students started legal proceedings.

The teacher was forced to resign by the UCLL, reports Het Nieuwsblad, but the students said they did not feel supported by their school.

"It concerns a never-ending stream of messages at night. They were sexual in nature and became more and more intimate. The defendant took a constructive approach, and he always went one step further for his research projects," the Leuven public prosecutor said.

The public prosecutor's office is requesting a sentence of 18 months in prison with probation, reports Het Laatste Nieuws.

The former professor now works as a civil servant. He admitted the facts and stated that the fault was entirely his own, but his lawyer asked for an acquittal, as the professor "was struggling with the after-effects of a burnout," according to the lawyer.

The verdict will be delivered on 8 September.

Maïthé Chini

The Brussels Times

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