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Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Of divorce, deception, and defamation: Did UC Santa Barbara archaeologist Danielle Kurin tell the truth? [Updated July 29, 2020]

Did Danielle Kurin tell the truth about her relationship with her ex-husband?
As readers of this blog know, late last month I was sued for defamation by University of  California, Santa Barbara archaeologist Danielle Kurin. The lawsuit was filed in the now famous U.S. District Court for Southern New York (filing such a suit in federal court is allowed when the parties live in different states and the damages sought exceed $75,000.)

Kurin is demanding $18 million in damages, and insisting that I delete all reporting I have done on the misconduct allegations against her. That reporting, consisting mainly of two blog reports which can be found here and here and a number of updates and commentaries on social media, uncovered documented evidence that she had retaliated against students who reported sexual harassment by her now ex-husband, Peruvian archaeologist Enmanuel Gomez Choque. That retaliation took place in the wake of a 2015 archaeological field school that Kurin and Gomez ran in and around Andahuaylas,  Peru, where Gomez is based. In a 2016 Title IX proceeding, the couple was found to have committed misconduct based on the standard of a "preponderance of the evidence."

The university put Kurin on a three year administrative leave between 2016-2019, but did not fire her. Yet while she was on leave, during a 2018 field school Kurin directed in Peru, Gomez sexually assaulted two female students, one of them seriously enough to leave her badly traumatized. The matter was investigated by the Institute for Field Research, which had sponsored the field school; in October 2018, the IFR severed all association with Kurin. And last fall, as her administrative leave ended, Kurin went back to teaching at UCSB. During the three year leave, very few colleagues in UCSB's anthropology department were told why she had been on leave, or that a Title IX proceeding had been involved, until I first reported on it last February. Some did know, however, that Kurin had unsuccessfully sued the Regents of the University of California for a promotion she felt she was entitled to; she lost that case.

At the time of Kurin's return to work last fall, she told a number of colleagues that she had already divorced Gomez. She also claimed that she had broken off all association with the Peruvian archaeologist. In the lawsuit filed against me, she insisted that her only contact with Gomez over the past two years had been to resolve matters pertaining to the divorce (which was uncontested.) Kurin is set to begin her tenure process in September, which, if successful, would lead to her becoming a permanent faculty member by next spring. Kurin knows that creating the appearance that she has broken with her past behavior, and with Gomez, is essential for demonstrating that she is suitable for permanent status.

As her attorney put it in an article about the defamation case in the UCSB student paper, the Daily Nexus:

“Dr. Kurin is not a perfect individual. She made some mistakes a few years ago and has apologized for them, acknowledged them, took responsibility for her actions and completed a settlement with the university that everybody was happy with.”

But the records of Kurin's divorce proceedings, which are public documents and which I obtained from the California Superior Court for the County of Santa Barbara, indicate that her divorce from Gomez was not  final until December 1, 2019, at least three months after she began telling colleagues that she was already divorced.

Moreover, while Kurin claimed in the defamation complaint and to colleagues that it was over between her and Gomez, witnesses put her not only in Andahuaylas, but in Gomez's house and, in the case of two witnesses, in his bedroom, on multiple occasions during 2019. I provide further details below. And I am happy that Kurin, through her attorney, has finally provided a statement to me about these matters. Earlier this year, I repeatedly asked her to comment for my reporting, in emails dated January 9, February 20, March 7,  and March 11, to which she did not respond. (Kurin's lawyer, Dave Scher of the Hoyer Law Group, did comment earlier on the case, for the article cited above in the Daily Nexus.)


Questions for Danielle Kurin about her relationship with Enmanuel  Gomez  Choque

I was served with the defamation suit in late June, and for a short period earlier this month the parties explored the possibility of an early settlement. Federal Rules of Evidence 408 forbid me from discussing the details, but I retained an attorney for this purpose using funds kindly donated by contributors to my GoFundMe legal defense site. For now, at least, I am representing myself in the lawsuit, which means I am in the odd situation of wearing two hats: That of reporter, and that of lawyer (as the old joke goes, I may have a fool for a client, although I hope not.) As a #MeToo reporter, I have tried to follow the long and proud tradition of advocacy journalism: While my reporting must be rigorous and accurate, I am not required to be neutral about whether sexual misconduct is acceptable (I explain my work in a recent interview with the good folks at the Fieldwork Initiative.)

This case raises lots of important questions about freedom of the press, the First Amendment, and the use and abuse of defamation suits, which I will explore in future posts. For now, I will focus on the immediate question of whether Danielle Kurin has told the truth about her relationship with Gomez.

Here are the questions I put to Scher about these matters, followed by his responses, which I have agreed to post here unedited and in full:


Dear Mr. Scher,

I will be doing a new blog post about the issues surrounding Dr. Kurin later this week. I would ask her to comment (through you, of course) on a few issues that have arisen. I have obtained the entire case file of the divorce between Dr. Kurin and Mr. Gomez, and my questions are based on the information in those documents plus other information from sources.

1. When Dr. Kurin returned to teaching at UCSB last fall, she reportedly told a number of colleagues that she was already divorced from Mr. Gomez. However, the court files indicate that the divorce became final on December 1, 2019. Does Dr. Kurin agree that she told colleagues she was already divorced? If so, why did she do so?

2. Mr. Gomez was served several times with papers related to the divorce, by a service engaged by Dr. Kurin's attorney. In each case the papers were sent to Mr. Gomez by email and mailed to the Falls Church, VA address of Richard Kurin, Dr. Kurin's father. Those service records indicate that Mr. Gomez signed to acknowledge receipt of the documents, with the Falls Church address again indicated below his signature. Why were the papers for Mr. Gomez sent to Richard Kurin's house rather than to Peru or some other location? Was Mr. Gomez physically present at the Falls Church house at any time between May 9 and July 18, 2019? Was he there at the same time as Dr. Kurin?

3. I have a number of sources who indicate that Dr. Kurin was present in and around Andahuaylas, Peru, at least twice during 2019. The sources indicate that Dr. Kurin lived with Mr. Gomez in his home in Andahuaylas during those visits. Could Dr. Kurin comment on these observations, and either confirm, deny, or clarify whether she was present with Mr. Gomez at least twice last year?

I hope that you will provide responses to these questions, which reflect my ongoing attempts to get Dr. Kurin to comment on my reporting about her and give her a fair chance to contradict or modify any of my findings. If she does not want to respond to any of the questions, please let me know that as well and I will indicate it in my report.

With thanks,

Michael Balter



Scher's response:


“Dr. Kurin’s attorneys have issued the following statement: Mr. Gomez was last in the United States in the summer of 2016. He never returned. Dr. Kurin filed for divorce in May of 2019.  In August of 2019 Dr. Kurin went to Peru to gather her belongings. This is the last time she saw or spoke with Mr. Gomez. The divorce was finalized in December of 2019.  Dr. Kurin’s family residence was used by consent of the parties for service purposes only.  Mr. Gomez was not there as he had not been in the U.S. since 2016.  Any suggestion that Dr. Kurin and Mr Gomez were in a continued relationship or that Mr. Gomez was present in the U.S. at Dr. Kurin’s family home in December of 2019 (or at any time in 2019) is false.  Dr. Kurin was not married when Mr. Balter wrote his blogs, nor was she in anyway Mr. Gomez’s partner. We have demanded that Mr. Balter retract his statements to the contrary but he refuses.  It is our opinion that Mr. Balter cyberbullies and uses #metoo as a way to gaslight people.  We view this story as a pointless invasion of Dr. Kurin’s privacy and yet more evidence of Mr. Balter’s overt malice against her.  We will pursue this litigation until Mr. Balter retracts each and every false statement he has made about Dr. Kurin and ceases bullying her, whether he does so by choice or Court Order.  Please do not respond to Dr. Kurin or our law firm here. Rather send us webmail at www.hoyerlawgroup.com.”


Now my comments on these questions and answers, based on my reporting:


1. Scher does not actually answer my questions about what Kurin told her colleagues about the timing of her divorce and why she reportedly said that she was already divorced when she returned to teaching in Fall 2019. He does confirm that the divorce was finalized last December, however. In the defamation complaint, Kurin tells the court that she filed for divorce "soon after" the IFR concluded its investigation of Gomez's assaults on female students and allegations by the students that Kurin tried to cover up these events. That investigation, which led to IFR severing its connections with Kurin, wrapped up in October 2018. Kurin filed for divorce on May 9, 2019, nearly seven months later. Whether seven months fits the definition of "soon after" could well be an issue in this litigation, but I will let it lie for now.

2. Scher maintains that Kurin's divorce attorney used the mailing address of her father in Falls Church, Virginia "for service purposes only" and that Gomez was not physically present there, indeed that he had not been in the United States since the summer of 2016. He does not explain why the divorce papers were sent to Falls Church rather than straight down to Peru or wherever else Gomez was at the time, since Kurin had told the divorce court that the couple separated in August  2018 (ie, right after the sexual assaults at the 2018 field school.)

Gomez was served with several documents pertaining to the divorce, and, the records show, accepted service each time of documents that were mailed to the Falls Church address. It is certainly possible that the documents were sent first to Falls Church and then that someone--Danielle Kurin, her father Richard, or her mother--sent them to Gomez in Peru. But in that case the service would have been carried out not by Kurin's divorce lawyer and his firm, as the records indicate, but by Kurin and/or her family. And what happened next? Did Gomez sign the documents and send them back to Falls Church, or did he send them directly back to Kurin's lawyer, or to the court?

There might be little issue here were it not for the following.

3. Scher vehemently denies that a relationship continued between Kurin and Gomez during 2019, and she denies it as well in the defamation complaint, signed under penalty of perjury. Scher states that Kurin went to Peru in August of last year, but only to gather her belongings, and that she has not seen Gomez nor spoken to him since.

The problem with that statement is that I have spoken with three sources, direct witnesses, who put Kurin in Andahuaylas on more than one occasion last year. Two of these sources observed Kurin not only living with Gomez in his family home in the city, but actually sleeping with him in his bedroom. The third source, a visitor who did not stay long, nevertheless observed them together. The first two sources fear retaliation from Kurin for talking to me, and thus I will not only not name them but also not specify when they were in Andahuaylas. The third source does not fear retaliation but nevertheless does not want to be publicly involved. (To make things clear, I have known since January that Kurin was staying in the Andahuaylas house last year despite telling colleagues that they were divorced.)

(On the issue of retaliation: Kurin may try to make guesses about who the sources are, although she would be likely to be wrong. However, any attempts she makes to retaliate against colleagues she thinks might be sources will be reported in this space immediately.)


If these witnesses are telling the truth, then obviously Kurin is not.

I've talked to many colleagues about Kurin's relationship with Gomez. Kurin married Gomez on February 9, 2016, many months after he sexually harassed students at the 2015 field school.  She defended him against those charges by calling the complainants "racist gringas" on Facebook and then retaliated against them. The marriage also took place on the eve of the Title IX proceedings against the couple, in which both were found to have committed misconduct. Kurin continued her marriage to Gomez in 2018, when she was on administrative leave for the earlier misconduct and when he sexually assaulted two students at her field school that year. Only in May 2019 did she finally file for divorce, and yet the evidence shows that this did not end the couple's relationship.

Kurin's colleagues say that the couple has a definite bond and the relationship is real. Nevertheless, Gomez's home in Andahuaylas, and other locations owned by his family, serve as key infrastructure for Kurin's archaeological work in the region. Gomez's family provides students at the field school with their meals, and perform other support services. Thus the relationship has also been key to Kurin's ability to perform the research on which she has built her career and hopes to get tenure from UCSB.

The matters discussed above will obviously play an important role in the lawsuit against me, in which I am accused of making false statements in my reporting, and, possibly, in Kurin's tenure process. I  will say nothing more about them now, but I expect to be back soon with more thoughts about the defamation suit and the important First Amendment issues it raises. You can also look for regular  updates about the case on my GoFundMe site.


Update: Reply to the above from Danielle Kurin's attorney, Dave Scher

(I have no comment of my own to make on this, other than that I have always been happy for Kurin to have input into my reporting, and that I make no "fortune" with this blog--I do my #MeToo reporting for free. As for the immigration process, my wife had to wait 19 months to get her green card, during which we were separated most of the time, thanks to Trump's immigration policies.)


“Dr. Kurin’s attorney’s have issued the following reply to my blog:
There is nothing new to Mr. Balter’s ongoing and relentless bullying assault against Dr. Kurin here, other than his apparent obsession (as illustrated in his 2006 book) with the voyeuristic (and illegal) spying of American tourists.  It is fascinating that Mr. Balter still sees Dr. Kurin as the harasser, not the anonymous gossipers violating Peruvian law by spying on Dr. Kurin in a private setting, and not Mr. Balter himself for needlessly writing about a private citizen’s private life.
As we have already stated, Dr. Kurin traveled to Peru in the Summer of 2019 and met with Mr. Gomez to collect belongings and complete certain paperwork.  It is therefore quite likely that witnesses observed Mr. Gomez and Dr. Kurin in the same place, even in the same “family home” and even in or near the same “bed”.  There is nothing salacious about this, despite Mr. Balter’s insinuation otherwise.
Had Mr. Balter done actual research, rather than at 3am blasting out the gossipy hearsay of American female college students overbroad (as is his want, and as has been the basis of almost all of his “reporting” about Dr. Kurin), he would have realized some additional and very important facts:
  1. Mr. Gomez is not some powerful or cosmopolitan Peruvian. Rather he is an indigenous, first-language Quechua speaker who has lived his whole life in one of the poorest regions in the Western Hemisphere. 
  1. Mr. Gomez has never been credibly accused or investigated for, and has never been convicted of, rape anywhere (the post by “Anonymous” that Mr. Balter has allowed to be posted on his blog containing the outrageous statement to the contrary is easily proved as false and severely damages Mr. Gomez – this defamation of Mr. Gomez is a crime under Peruvian law.  As Mr. Balter’s readers know, he is already under attack in Peru for making false statements about Mr. Castillo, which will likely lead to his indictment as an international criminal).
  1. Mr. Gomez and his entire family are extremely poor, and were routinely targeted and tortured by the Peruvian government, as well as by the Shining Path terrorist group. They describe Mr. Balter's defamatory attacks on them as another extrajudicial attempt to terrorize and intimidate them. Mr. Gomez and his family unfortunately do not have the financial means to defend themselves against frequent, frivolous, and racially--tinged attacks by privileged white Americans. 
  1. Mr. Gomez and his entire family - men, women and children, multiple generations - sleep all together in one modest adobe-and concrete abode– what Mr. Balter calls the “family home”.
  1. Mr. Gomez and his entire family sleep on the dirt and slate floors of the actual “family home” (a one room hut) bolstered by some threading to support them (the “bed”), threading made by the family.
  1. Mr. Balter doesn't seem to realize that the process of getting a Visa to travel to/live in the US as a foreign citizen is a complicated, years-long process. As a white man who can choose to live in Paris or the US on a whim, he obviously has no idea of what the immigration process entails, especially for ethnic minorities from the global south. To receive his K1 Visa, US immigration authorities did an extensive background check on Mr. Gomez, where they confirmed that he has never been accused, investigated or convicted of any misconduct of any kind, sexual or otherwise. That Mr. Balter thinks his investigative powers surpass those of the US Government is just laughable.

So when Dr. Kurin went to Peru in the summer of 2019, she did indeed visit Mr. Gomez to complete matters with him, stayed in his “family home” (with about a dozen other people all in the same room) and may have even been seen next to his “bed” (a slate floor with some threading). When traveling to remote and impoverished regions in Peru, that was simply Dr. Kurin’s only choice. That three American tourists secretly observed this over a year ago and now have reported it to Mr. Balter, suggesting some sort of improper sexual (or other) relationship is simply, in our opinion, disgusting. And that Mr. Balter would publish such a story is, in our opinion, despicable.
Notably, Mr. Balter admits in his own blog now that Dr. Kurin was divorced from Mr. Gomez in 2019, yet he still has refused to retract his statement, made in February of 2020, that Dr. Kurin was “married”.  His hunt to cover up this falsehood by suggesting that Dr. Kurin’s divorce is somehow a sham has fallen flat – even flatter than the paper thin pancake of unverified anonymously given hearsay that forms the basis of most of his blogs.
In our opinion, Mr. Balter does nothing more than take already-published stories and add unverifiable and often false and/or highly misleading and deceptive gossip.  He has done this not just to Dr. Kurin, but to numerous other unsuspecting members of the educational community that has, in large part, shunned him. He seems to most relish attacking young vulnerable women and indigenous minorities.
At this point Mr. Balter’s writings read more like a rag magazine on the discount rack in a supermarket – everyone knows it’s not real but we enjoy reading it anyway.  So as you read Mr. Balter’s (mostly tall) tales, please keep in mind that they are nothing more, in our opinion, than sadistic voyeurism showing its true colors.
It is our opinion that Mr. Balter’s connection with the truth is weak, and that he is really nothing more than a harassing cyberbully who lives in a virtual world of gaslighting and unprovable chatter.  If you’ve been a follower of Mr. Balter, it may be time to consider that, at least in our opinion, he is just using you and #metoo to establish, for yet another white male, unjustified fame and fortune. 
If you have been a victim of Mr. Balter’s cyberbullying, harassment, and/or retaliation, please contact us via our website: www.hoyerlawgroup.com.  We would love to hear from you and I will personally respond to you.”



Update July 23: The duration of Kurin's relationship with Gomez

For the reasons spelled out above, and in the defamation complaint filed against me by Danielle Kurin, the circumstances of her relationship with her ex-husband, Enmanuel Gomez Choque, have unfortunately become relevant to the lawsuit and to determining the truth. I say "unfortunately" because despite Kurin's false suggestions in the complaint that I have some kind of abnormal interest in people's sex lives, Kurin's defense of Gomez in the face of sexual misconduct allegations is very much at issue here. In the complaint filed with the federal court, Kurin refers to a "brief" marriage to Gomez between 2016-2019. However, in double checking with sources who have known the couple for a long time, the relationship (including living together when Kurin is in Peru) began as early as 2009.


Update July 23: Litigation Hold Notice

An important argument that I will be making in my defense of Kurin's defamation suit against me is that my reporting about her was not only accurate and well-sourced, but that it was in the public interest. In other words, my motivations for writing about Kurin were not based on malice or any other kind of ill will, especially because I had never heard of Danielle Kurin until I was approached by a researcher concerned that she was returning to teaching and contact with students (although I have been an archaeology writer for at least 25 years, I do not normally cover the period  Kurin works in.) This colleague, and many others I have talked to since, believe, as one academic put it to me, "Danielle Kurin is a danger to students." Again, this is the view of others who know her, and did not originate with me, even though I have a First Amendment right to have and express an opinion on the matter (as well as on whether she is suitable for tenure at UC Santa Barbara.)

Because I believe that this is fundamentally a First Amendment case and not a real defamation case (I have never defamed her, which would require that my assertions be knowingly false), I intend to make the details of the case as public as legally allowed. All documents filed with the court are public, of course, unless the judge decides to seal some of them; normally routine filings such as the complaint, my answer to it, and various motions would be public.

In that spirit, I am including below the Litigation Hold Notice that I have sent to Dave Scher, Kurin's attorney. This notice, which requires any evidence that could be relevant to the lawsuit to be preserved, was included with the complaint that Scher sent to me, and obligates me to preserve and retain any evidence I have. Below is the Litigation Hold Notice I have sent to Scher today. It might give readers of this blog an idea of what kinds of issues may come up in legal discovery as the litigation proceeds.


Dear Mr. Scher,

This email serves as written notice to you to instruct your client, Danielle Kurin, to preserve all evidence that may be relevant to this dispute, in all forms (including but not limited to written, electronic, text messages, social media messages, etc.)

Documents that your client must preserve and retain include, but are not limited to, those that mention or discuss any of the following subjects:

1. All communications, including but not limited to written letters, telegrams, emails, texts, social media private messages (Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, etc.) between Danielle Kurin and Diogenes Enmanuel Gomez Choque between August 1, 2018 and the present. In addition, your client must preserve and retain any such future communications between herself and Mr. Gomez that occur for the duration of this litigation.

2. All communications, as described above, between your client and her father, Richard Kurin, between January 1, 2015 and the present. I realize that you might consider communications pertaining to the obtaining of legal counsel to be privileged; I ask that your client nevertheless retain those pending resolution of any disagreements about their discoverability.

3. All communications between your client, as described above, and any and all staff, officials, board members, or anyone else associated with the Institute for Field Research, including but not limited to Ran Boytner, Willeke Wendrich, Jason de Leon, Julie Stein, and Fred Limp. This instruction is not limited as to time, and includes any such communications in the future, whether or not you consider some of them to be privileged.

4. In addition, I would like your client to preserve and retain all communications, as described above, with any of the individuals named in No. 3 whether or not those communications involve the IFR, at any time in the past and into the future.

5. All communications, as described above, with colleagues in the University of California, Santa Barbara anthropology department, or with UCSB deans or other officials, that mention Diogenes Enmanuel Gomez Choque or the Title IX proceedings that Dr. Kurin and Mr. Gomez were subject to during the course of 2016, or any other matters that discuss the possibility of misconduct by either Dr. Kurin or Mr. Gomez. If there are any doubts as to whether certain communications fit this definition, I ask that they be retained nevertheless.

6. All communications, as described above, with anyone anywhere that mention the administrative leave Dr. Kurin was placed on beginning in spring 2016, whether or not you consider any of these communications to be privileged.

7. If there are any doubts or questions about whether or not certain documents or communications are relevant to this dispute, you must have your client retain them pending resolution of any such issues.

Electronically Stored Information (ESI): Your client must take every reasonable step to preserve relevant ESI throughout the pendency of this litigation and any appeals, as long as this process might last. Your client must suspend the deletion, overwriting, or any other possible destruction of relevant electronic documents and data, including automatic data destruction protocols, beginning immediately.

For any questions about what kinds of documents and ESI must be retained, I refer you to your letter to me of June 16, 2020 outlining my own obligations under the Litigation Hold Notice.

I reserve the right to specify additional materials to be preserved and retained as this litigation proceeds.

With thanks for your cooperation.

Best regards,

Michael Balter


Continued updates, July 23.

In her lengthy attack on me above, Danielle Kurin makes a brief reference to Luis Jaime Castillo Butters, a powerful Peruvian archaeologist who has also threatened me with legal action for writing about accusations against him. For anyone who does not know what that is all about, you can find the latest post and back-linking here. In the complaint in the defamation suit, Kurin also comes to the defense of several sexual predators (Brian Richmond, David Yesner, Ran Boytner, etc.) who have lost their positions (or in Yesner's case, denied emeritus status) as a result of their misconduct. In the complaint, Kurin tries to portray these confirmed abusers as my victims.


Who are the "cyberbullies"?

As one of my Twitter followers put it, this case is getting "weirder and weirder." I have to agree. I asked Kurin to respond to the allegations against her I have reported, and via her attorney, Dave Scher, she did so. I agreed to post whatever she said uncut and unedited, and you can see the result above. I am obviously not a defamation attorney, but neither is Scher (he often represents whistleblowers, which is good), and I wonder if Kurin's comments--which are blatant lies, very scurrilous, and inflammatory--might not meet the definition of defamation. Fortunately for her and her lawyer, journalists are normally loathe to file defamation suits against anyone, let alone the subjects of their reporting.

Nevertheless, Scher has developed a habit of posting things on Twitter about the case and then very quickly deleting them. I'm not sure what his motivation is, but he must realize that I have a lot of followers who quickly screenshot anything they think might disappear. Thus we have this from yesterday:





Is there any way to interpret this other than yet another attempt to intimidate me, dare I say to bully me, into deleting and renouncing all my reporting about Kurin, which is what they have demanded? That's the relief they seek, in addition to $18 million in damages. But it's as if they want to get the relief they seek simply by filing a defamation suit, without going through the long and difficult process of litigating the issues and having a jury (they have demanded a jury trial) decide whether I defamed Kurin or not. Until that day comes (I am confident that it will never come), I am an equal party in this lawsuit, not someone to be bullied as they have accused me of doing not just to Kurin but to others.

In any case it should be clear by now that they will not win the lawsuit that way. They will have to fight fair and square and try to make their case in court. In my view, while Kurin may have defamed me, I have not defamed her--because everything I have published about her is based on evidence, or is opinion that I am entitled to express under the First Amendment.

I don't want anyone to get the idea I think this is fun. It is miserable, dirty, depressing, and hard work, for both Kurin and for me. But Kurin and her attorney know how to put an end to it, and I hope they will soon.


Update: Did Kurin's marijuana smoking and isolation from the students of her field schools contribute to her husband's sexual abuse of students?

Kurin accuses me of "actual malice" in my reporting against her, and wanting to destroy her career. If I were found to have falsely reported about her, it would be necessary to find me at least to have engaged in reckless disregard of the truth for her to win the case. Simple mistakes or inadvertent errors are not good enough. Even better, if a plaintiff in a defamation suit can show that the defendant showed actual malice--in essence, that they were really out to get them--a defamation suit could be won.

In reality, I have withheld some of the most serious accusations against Kurin, and I must admit I do not know why. Perhaps a simple feeling of charity and sympathy for someone I believe to harbor serious character flaws, or just not wanting to be seen to be driving the knife in--after all, what I have called her "enabling" (a word she vehemently rejects) of Gomez's sexual abuse would seem to be bad enough.

But I think under the current circumstances I will have to stop being so charitable. Here are two quotes from students, the first from a student at her 2017 field school, which I have never discussed before, and the second from a different student at her 2018 field school, where Gomez sexually assaulted and traumatized a student.

2017: "The 2017 IFR field school in Andahuaylas was a bit of a mess. Danielle had her sister there (who is a lawyer) to keep her in check. Danielle hid away in her room most of the time smoking weed, which the students could smell. She also barely ever showered, which the students also noticed. 
Since she was not involved in running her own field school, the staff members were disorganized and she turned them against each other by providing conflicting information on how excavation should be run. Students were also frustrated by this since it made excavations less enjoyable."

2018: "Some of [the students] were offered TA positions, research promises and even marijuana. During the Wari project, students were consuming marijuana that Danielle had provided to them to appease them, because they were pissed that the digging was cut to half the time agreed. She put students at risk in a foreign country where its recreational use is still illegal." [boldface added]

The 2018 student might be wrong that recreational use of small amounts of marijuana is illegal in Peru, although I have not yet researched it extensively. The real question, however, is whether it was responsible for Kurin to use it and offer it to students, if these testimonies are correct. Personally I am in favor of legalizing marijuana, but that is not the issue here.

As before, I would invite Danielle Kurin to come onto this page and respond to these very serious assertions. (Update 1:02 PM: I have heard from Dave Scher that he and his client decline to comment on these latest details.)


A letter to Danielle from a former, and hopefully future, friend.

The follow Anonymous comment was posted below, but I am going to move it up here as well because it is passionate, full of hopes for Danielle and her future, but eloquently urges her to make a real break with her past misconduct and behavior that has been very hurtful to others. I hope she will take this message to heart.


"To Danielle,
It is not too late to turn your life around. I was shocked and disappointed when I first heard about the things you did, and this was before Balter’s reporting. I was shocked because over the years, I thought I saw more good in you than bad. You were (are?) humorous, passionate, and hard-working. You’ve made major mistakes and have doubled down on them in the past years. All you need to do is to own up to your mistakes, publicly apologize to everyone personally and publicly, make reparations to them, and drop this lawsuit that you cannot win. You might think that doubling down, as you had done over the past decade, is the only way to save your reputation and career. This is not true. I think you underestimate the graciousness of others. You can still have a future in your life-long passion (maybe in the museum world?) if you make amends publicly from a place of humility. I know you must be going through lots of terrible emotions right now; the latest update about your 2017 and 2018 activities shows the emotional toll the consequences that your own actions have taken on you. But also know that what you are currently feeling is probably worse than what you put many people through. Please try to think about that. Please let your better angels conquer your ego and pride, and see the damage you’ve done and make amends. It’s not too late to start anew.
From,
A former, and hopefully future, friend"


A correction to my above comment. "But also know that what you are currently feeling is probably worse than what you put many people through." should read "But also know that what you are currently feeling is similar to the rage and anguish those you have bullied and retaliated against have felt and are still feeling, and they probably feel it worse."


Update July 24: Have Kurin's attempts to retaliate against witnesses already begun?

Despite Kurin's attacks on the sources for my reporting, in her words above, as either liars or mistaken, she has a very long reputation for retaliating or attempting to retaliate against witnesses and survivors of her ex-husband's abuses. (She was found to have done that in a 2016 Title IX that is a key document of proof in this case.) I am already getting indications that she is actively hunting for the sources of my updated reporting. To put it simply, Kurin just does not seem to be able to help herself, and this is why so many students and faculty think she is, as one of them put it to me, "a danger to students."

Since any of my sources could potentially be witnesses in this lawsuit, it appears that Kurin is attempting to intimidate witnesses and tamper with their potential testimony.

Nevertheless, her attorney, Dave Scher, has publicly pledged that he and his client will not go after my sources, in a June 23 Tweet since deleted but seen by many. They should be held to that publicly, and I intend to hold them to that in this litigation.






Update 9:30 am: An interchange with Danielle Kurin's attorney Dave Scher.

I wrote to Mr. Scher this morning asking him to warn his client about intimidation of witnesses. Here is his reply and my response to that. The good news is that he has reiterated his pledge not to go after my sources, and of course this representation will bind him during this lawsuit.



Mr. Balter,

The statement that my client “has begun to try to figure out who the sources of [your] reporting are” is false.  If you make that statement publicly, it will be a knowingly false statement that could severely injure Dr. Kurin, thus further defaming her.  Should you state directly or indirectly or insinuate in any way that Dr. Kurin is intimidating or trying to intimidate witness (again – because you have already falsely done this at least twice) you are on notice that such statements are false and defamatory and in our view it would violate your ethics as a journalist to publish them.

As we have stated before, we are not now nor will we ever seek the identity of your “witnesses”. First, we respect the right of witnesses to come forward and say whatever they want anonymously.  Second, in our view, everything these witnesses have said or have to say is inadmissible in Court anyway. If you have suggested or in the future do suggest to anyone otherwise in order to engender support, you would be lying to people.

Also as previously stated, the defamation part of our case is based on your statements (not those of witnesses) - objectively provably false statements.  As a simple example, as I have already stated many times, Dr. Kurin was not married in February, 2020, when you published a blog stating that she was. In a recent blog you admitted that she was divorced in 2019.  Yet, you still, to this day, have not issued a retraction.  This statement is a clear example of defamation: 1) the statement that Dr. Kurin is married is false, 2) it is easily proved as false, 3) you know it is false, 3) you will not retract it (instead you made scandalously yet more false allegations about her divorce process), and 4) she is injured by this association of marriage, as you know.  We believe a Court will Order you to issue a retraction and/or remove this false statement and further award damages associated with that injury.  This is but one of many examples of objectively provably false statements you have knowingly, and with continued malice, have made and continue to make about Dr. Kurin.  As you can see from this example, we do not need any of your witnesses to establish our case – we will rely entirely your own knowingly false, injurious and defamatory statements.

You have threatened to file a motion. For the record, we oppose the motion and do not consent.  Should you file such a motion, we will oppose it vigorously, and we will further asks for sanctions and attorneys’ fees and costs, because a motion based entirely on inadmissible anonymous hearsay is de jure frivolous.

Please also stop emailing me about on and off the record.  I am not your attorney and cannot advise you how to handle our communications. I do recommend you consult an attorney on this topic.

Regards,

Dave Scher, Partner
Hoyer Law Group



My response:


Mr. Scher,

I will try to be brief.

I don't know how long you have known your client, but in some ways I know her better than you do. That's because over the past months I have talked with dozens of individuals, mostly within the archaeology community that Dr. Kurin is part of, who have known her since she was a graduate student at Vanderbilt University.

The almost universal judgement of those colleagues, former and present, is that Dr. Kurin is a chronic bully who often has a very tenuous relationship with the truth. Her bullying has often involved invoking the power of her father, Richard Kurin of the Smithsonian Institution, and threatening that he will retaliate against them within the scientific community.

I have tried to point out to  you repeatedly that your client has not told you the truth about many issues that are relevant to this litigation. To put it simply, she has led you up the garden path. By doing so, she has made you the agent of her bullying and attempts at retaliation. This litigation, which involves an attempt to suppress the First Amendment rights of a reporter who is writing about her in the public interest, is in effect Exhibit A.

I suggest that you re-read the blog posts from February and March that are at the center of the litigation. While you and your client have quibbled over a few words here and there, both of you have completely ignored the testimonies of victims of sexual harassment and assault. In all these years, your client has done absolutely nothing to acknowledge their pain, apologize to them for the abuse they suffered at her field schools, or even recognize them as real people. Instead they are characterized as "racist gringas" or "American tourists" in the most disdainful and callous way. [boldface added]

Finally, as a journalist of 42 years' standing, I know very well the difference between on and off the record. As I told you, I consider all of our communications to be on the record unless we agree otherwise. Nevertheless,  I offered to retroactively put one of  your statements to me off the record because I was not sure if you intended it to be public and wanted to give you a fair chance to decide that on your own. I believe you understand that very well and so your remarks on that issue are disingenuous.

On that basis, this entire exchange is on the record and thus I am free to make it public.

Regards,

Michael Balter



Update July 29, 2020: Some insights into Kurin's association with a sexual predator, and her penchant for bullying.

Over the many months that I have been reporting on Danielle Kurin and her former husband, Enmanuel Gomez Choque, I have talked to dozens of people who have known her over the years, going back to her graduate student days at Vanderbilt University. She is apparently a very contradictory character, charismatic and capable of being "charming, funny, and friendly," as one colleague put it, adding that "I can see why people are easily bamboozled by her."

One archaeologist who has known Kurin for many years recounts spending some time with her in Peru, a number of years ago. This person, whom I will call Archaeologist A, recalls two "warning signs" of the behavior that would later lead to two misconduct investigations involving her, the 2016 Title IX against her and Gomez and the 2018 investigation of sexual assaults at her field school in Peru by the Institute for Field Research.

"We hung out a few times in Ayacucho, where she and Enmanuel were working from. She complained...about his sexual jokes to her. For example, during survey they were bitten by all kinds of insects. He asked her if she could put anti-itch/bit cream on his private parts. I was baffled when she later married him."

Archaeologist A recalls another episode that provided insights into Kurin's penchant for bullying others (I have reported that she has often invoked the name of her father, a powerful official at the Smithsonian Institution, when threatening retaliation against the careers of others.

"She took me and one of her students out on an excursion to a nearby...archaeological site. The entrance fee was less than $3.00. Instead of buying a ticket, she told us to jump the low fence. A guardian of the site [an indigenous Peruvian] approached us soon after and asked us to pay for our entrance tickets. Danielle's comportment changed dramatically. She started to intimidate the guardian by saying how dare he, and if he knows who she is? She started name dropping well known Peruvian archaeologists. I felt really embarrassed and handed the guardian my [fee], which finally made Danielle relent."


Archaeologist A to a colleague, early last year















30 comments:

Anonymous said...

I’m gonna need someone to explain to me how these witnesses could possibly know that Kurin slept in Gomez’s room with him.

Michael Balter said...

That's a fair question, from the commenter above, but it shows that they have never been to the house Gomez and Kurin shared in Andahuaylas nor to her archaeological field school.

Anonymous said...

Anyone that's been to a field school as a student, TA or faculty will tell you that you that no matter how secretive people may try to be, most romantic or sexual entanglements are common knowledge in such a close community at a field school. I've walked up on friends making out in trenches, seen couples disappear into a room for hours and then reappear confident no one noticed. Then there's also the most common mistake: telling close friends that you hooked up with someone and then thinking your friends will not gossip about it with others. That's a surefire way to make sure literally EVERYONE knows what happened.

Anonymous said...

The last sentence here is a lie:
“So when Dr. Kurin went to Peru in the summer of 2019, she did indeed visit Mr. Gomez to complete matters with him, stayed in his “family home” (with about a dozen other people all in the same room) and may have even been seen next to his “bed” (a slate floor with some threading). When traveling to remote and impoverished regions in Peru, that was simply Dr. Kurin’s only choice.”
As everyone who’s been to Andahuaylas knows, there are several hotels and airbnb in town. Tourists often stay there when visiting the laguna and Sondor, where she conducts her research. Some of her past students even stayed there before and after the project. Not the fanciest places to stay in, but definitely sound more comfortable than a slate floor with some threading. And Kurin herself has other contacts in town. So it baffles me why say that staying with Gomez was her “only choice” when anyone can even check online and see that they are lying. Honestly, it’s those little things that make me doubt her whole story.

Anonymous said...

So now “American female college students” are not just “racist gringas” but are also voyeuristic American spies in Peru?!?!? C’mon UCSB, and you’re still contemplating giving such a person tenure and even more power over your students?

Michael Balter said...

Re the "American spies" -- Kurin has no idea of the nationality of the sources I referred to, and she should not make any assumptions about that.

I was trying to refrain, but I also need to weigh in on her highly stylized depiction of Gomez and his family. The Gomez family is a major presence in Andahuaylas. Enmanuel's father is a former mayor of the city, and Enmanuel himself is a city official (division of tourism, culture, education, etc.)

Let's get the focus back on the fact that Gomez, whom Kurin is still defending, sexually harassed and assaulted a number of students who came to work at Kurin's field school, as late as 2018, as described above.

Michael Balter said...

PS—I have yet to see, in these public comments, one word from Kurin of regret about the harassment and assaults suffered by students at the hands of her ex-husband nor a word of apology to the survivors to whom she had a duty of care as director of the field schools. Still waiting for that, to do a bit of editorializing.

Anonymous said...

Exactly! And even if he was that poor Quechua-speaking indigenous, that does not give him any right to sexually harass people.
And then she/her lawyer have the nerve to write:
“Had Mr. Balter done actual research, rather than at 3am blasting out the gossipy hearsay of American female college students overbroad (as is his want, and as has been the basis of almost all of his “reporting” about Dr. Kurin), he would have realized some additional and very important facts”

Not Balter’s fault that American female college students are Gomez’s favorite victims, so it is they who report.

Michael Balter said...

Again, I want to point out that Kurin has no idea who my sources are, and the fact that she assumes they must be "female college students" increases my concerns that she might try to retaliate against people she suspects are talking to me. As we know, there is proof positive that she has retaliated in the past.

Kurin, by the way, speaks Quechua fluently, which makes her well known and popular in the town--and very likely to have found somewhere else to stay were it not that she was staying with Gomez.

Michael Balter said...

Correction to the above, Gomez's father was mayor of Cachi, a city in Andahuaylas province, not of the city of Andahuaylas itself.

Anonymous said...

If Kurin wrote that letter, it seems she would do well to proofread it before sending. It reads as very disjointed and full of irrelevant topics. There are also some obvious spelling errors, such as "as is his want." Why are rumors in the comments section relevant to what Balter has published? The whole letter reads as very racist, intended for an audience that is unfamiliar with Peru except the vague idea that everyone lives in a mud hut sleeping in a room with 12 other people. "He seems to most relish attacking young vulnerable women and indigenous minorities." It doesn't matter who the person is, and looking over the list of people he has investigated, they are overwhelmingly white men in powerful positions.

I am also curious why Kurin thinks 18 million dollars is justified in her case. It's about 3 times a typical settlement amount for a wrongful death lawsuit. Does she think her reputation, which was already damaged prior to Balter's reporting, is worth the lives of three people?

Anonymous said...

Kurin and her attorney are attempting to use an essentialized portrait of oppression as cover for her unethical actions. These living condition descriptions she attributes to her (former) in-laws are fetishizing, objectifying caricatures of poverty based on racist tropes. Why should making one's own (thread?!) bedding negate the long history of assault by Gomez and the demonstrated pattern of vicious retaliation by Kurin? Kurin and Scher further claim that "Mr. Gomez is not some powerful or cosmopolitan Peruvian." If true, how could that possibly work to undo the damage done by his serial harassment and assault? Alas, it's not even true. This is just one of many lies and deceptions. Mr. Gomez was named in January 2019 as the Jefe de la Division de Educacion, Turismo, Cultura y Deporte (head of the division of education, tourism, culture and sports) for the Provincial Municipality of Andahuaylas. He was also, as of 2017, the Director Sub Regional de Comercio Exterior y Turismo Andahuaylas - DIRCETUR, Gobierno Regional de Apurimac (the subregional director of exterior commerce and tourism of Andahuaylas for the regional government of Apurimac). Gomez knows what he's done. Kurin knows, too. And they both continue to represent Andahuaylas culture and history in public spaces (Gomez as a local official and both of them in the upcoming, much-maligned Apurimac archaeology conference in which they are presenting) "como unos sinverguenzas" (shamelessly). This letter is one more shameless act full of lies and distractions, yet this time explicitly drawing from racist perceptions of poor Indians and noble savages.

Anonymous said...

A few weeks ago Danielle Kurin posted on her blog an article she wrote for the Cotsen Institute’s ‘Backdirt’ Magazine, where she provided the following acknowledgment:
“My sincerest thanks to the faculty, students, and staff affiliated with the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology for magnanimously providing a sophisticated and inspirational forum for intellectual growth. Support from the Institute for Field Research enabled me to write this article. I am truly indebted to my mentors Yuval Bar Zemer, Hans Barnard, Ran Boytner, Michael DeNiro, Enmanuel Gomez, Sabine Hyland, Stella Nair, Charles Stanish, and Willeke Wendrich.”

https://ioa.ucla.edu/sites/default/files/media/assets/Backdirt2016_web.pdf
(scroll to pages 18-19)

The most interesting thing is that this was published back in December 2016, so a few months after the Institute for Field Research had canceled the field school they planned with her due to the Title IX findings. What was, then, the acknowledged support the IFR provided for Kurin in order to write this article? Equally interesting to find mentioned here so many of the ‘usual suspects’ such as Gomez, Boytner, Wendrich, and Stanish, but most curious is the mention of Yuval Bar Zemer. Bar Zemer, an industrial developer in downtown Los Angeles, is also an investor, board member, and former chairperson of the IFR. Why would Kurin refer to Bar Zemer as her “mentor”, particularly since he is definitely not an archaeologist? Did Bar Zemer fund her research in 2016, when she and Gomez were found culpable (apparently can’t use the word “guilty”) of Title IX violations?

Anonymous said...

To Danielle,
It is not too late to turn your life around. I was shocked and disappointed when I first heard about the things you did, and this was before Balter’s reporting. I was shocked because over the years, I thought I saw more good in you than bad. You were (are?) humorous, passionate, and hard-working. You’ve made major mistakes and have doubled down on them in the past years. All you need to do is to own up to your mistakes, publicly apologize to everyone personally and publicly, make reparations to them, and drop this lawsuit that you cannot win. You might think that doubling down, as you had done over the past decade, is the only way to save your reputation and career. This is not true. I think you underestimate the graciousness of others. You can still have a future in your life-long passion (maybe in the museum world?) if you make amends publicly from a place of humility. I know you must be going through lots of terrible emotions right now; the latest update about your 2017 and 2018 activities shows the emotional toll the consequences that your own actions have taken on you. But also know that what you are currently feeling is probably worse than what you put many people through. Please try to think about that. Please let your better angels conquer your ego and pride, and see the damage you’ve done and make amends. It’s not too late to start anew.
From,
A former, and hopefully future, friend

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure what the fees were for students attending her field schools through the IFR but for most field schools part of the justification for the high fees is that they include meals, lodging and university credits. I read that atleast one of Kurin's field schools through the IFR did not include university credits because UCLA refused to provide the credits to her field school (probably due to the accusations of sexual harassment and bullying), yet the IFR offered the field school anyway. Furthermore, now it seems that Gomez's family (and by extension, Kurin's in-laws) were the ones providing the lodging and meals. She makes it sound like it was their kindness but were they being compensated for those from student fees? because if that's the case, that's called double dipping. The more i read about this the more it seems like exploitation of students. She lures them to this field school, takes their money, provides subpar teaching, allows these students to be sexually harassed by her husband, threatens them if they speak out. Lets also be clear about two things: Kurin is a white woman who comes from a fairly affluent and priviledged background. As a person of colour, i find her appropriation of racial injustices as cover for her abuse of students to be particularly offensive. She is calling women that have spoken out about sexual abuse, "racist gringas" and "sexual voyeurs". Why does she think she can do this? Because she married an indeginous Peruvian man? That doesn't make him a saint. That makes him a human being capable of the same horrible behaviour a white man is capable of, namely sexually abusing women. Don't appropriate real indigenious struggles to justify your white priviledge and your husband's male priviledge.

Anonymous said...

A correction to my above comment. "But also know that what you are currently feeling is probably worse than what you put many people through." should read "But also know that what you are currently feeling is similar to the rage and anguish those you have bullied and retaliated against have felt and are still feeling, and they probably feel it worse."

Anonymous said...

If the above students’ testimonies are true, then regardless of whether marijuana use is illegal or not under Peruvian laws, a field school director should NEVER EVER give weed to her students! From my experience of many years working in Peru, the police can be extremely corrupt and if they catch a foreign student with that stuff they will threaten with anything from fines to jail time to deportation. This is even worse in rural areas where there is less oversight. In most cases it is likely that they won’t or can’t exercise any of these threats and are only after a small bribe, but it can still be a very traumatic experience to the student involved and put the entire project at risk.

Anonymous said...

100% agree with the previous comment. As I understand it and as with many places in the world, in the case of marijuana it is the quantity of the possessed substance rather than the drug type itself that determines whether it is illegal or not in Peru. Students, however, will not always be aware of those legal nuances and so it is important to advise them to steer clear from any drug use while traveling, studying or working in a foreign country. If Kurin decided to smoke a joint after hours and behind closed doors then that’s her decision, although an extremely irresponsible one and setting a bad example to her staff and students. But if she actually *gave it* to her students, well, that’s just inexcusable. If those individuals will be willing to testify to that under oath, then I suspect that that’s pretty much it for Danielle Kurin at UCSB.

Anonymous said...


The quotes below are from the handbook that Danielle circulated to participants before the field school. It is very disappointing if she herself was involved in that sort of activity and was endangering her students and TAs. I should say though that I’ve never used or was offered drugs while attending the program.

From the handbook:

Participants working on the Project affirm the following:
6. I will not buy, sell, or use illegal drugs at any time.

Don’t do anything foolish. Purchasing or possessing illegal drugs, paraphernalia,
ancient artifacts, and weapons are serious crimes in Peru. If arrested, the police
are required by international treaty to notify the US Embassy. However, the
embassy will not intervene on your behalf or negotiate your release. They will
only contact your parents and/or give you a list of local lawyers. You are not
exempt from Peruvian laws simply because you are an American or a
participant. The Peruvian legal system is very different from the US system; there is
no presumption of innocence and there is no bail.

Finally, Field Workers must expect that Project Management will impose
disciplinary action on participants who engage in acts of mayhem, public
intoxication and/or any abuse of drugs or alcohol. Specific sanctions meted out
by Peruvian authorities for concomitant legal violations may also occur.

Anonymous said...

Guys, settle down. She's white and was smoking weed and passing it around to other white students. I mean sure she clearly knew she shouldn't be doing it (according to the handbook she provided to students). But it's ok because she's white. In the words of John Mulaney:

"It’s insane. Yeah, well… All right, don’t “whoo” if you’re white. It’s always been legal for us. Come on, sir. We don’t go to jail for marijuana, you silly billy. When I was arrested with a one-hitter at a Rusted Root concert, I did not serve hard time. I think I got an award."

I'm curious if Kurin procured the weed while in Peru (helping fund the local indigenous farmers) or if she carried it with her from the US (y'know... across international borders). I've certainly known plenty of archaeologists and anthropologists who have been pretty cavalier about carrying their little personal stash all over the world. Either way, someone with that level of white lady privilege has no business calling anyone a "racist gringa".

Anonymous said...

These two quotes from Scher’s reply encapsulate what he and Kurin really think of all the harassed victims/survivors, retaliated-against students, gaslighted faculty, multiple eye-witnesses, and any other who shared their grievances with Balter:

“His hunt to cover up this falsehood by suggesting that Dr. Kurin’s divorce is somehow a sham has fallen flat – even flatter than the paper thin pancake of unverified anonymously given hearsay that forms the basis of most of his blogs.”

“First, we respect the right of witnesses to come forward and say whatever they want anonymously. Second, in our view, everything these witnesses have said or have to say is inadmissible in Court anyway.”

How exactly do they “respect the right of witnesses to come forward and say whatever they want anonymously” if they consider their testimony to be “paper thin pancake of unverified anonymously given hearsay”? The answer lies in the last sentence. In their opinion it is “inadmissible in Court”, so therefore should not be taken seriously.

Anonymous said...

Re the last comment. The allegations that Balter brings forth hinge heavily on new testimonies of students and faculty members. Kurin’s lawsuit, on the other hand, hinges almost entirely on old testimonies provided after the cases of 2015 and 2018. Therefore, Kurin’s argument that Balter is lying since she was not found guilty of anything is entirely irrelevant. New evidence seems to suggest that there is more to the truth than what was concluded back then, especially if there were coverups by herself and the investigating institutions.

Anonymous said...

34. On May 20, 2020, Balter published a blog accusing yet another professor – this one in Australia – of being a “sexual predator” and “pedophile protector.” See http://michael-balter.blogspot.com/2020/05/peter-rathjen-serial-sexual-predator.html (last visited June 11, 2020).

Catching up other cases posted on these blog pages, I am aghast to read in Kurin’s lawsuit how she attempts to bring the above case against Peter Rathjen as akin to her own alleged defamation by Balter. She’d be wise to choose another role model. For those who are unaware, Rathjen (University of Adelaide) recently came under investigation for misconduct and has now resigned. You can read all about it in the link above. I urge readers to pay close attention to the many comments contributed by those close to the case, and who are extremely appreciative of Mr Balter’s journalism on this and related perpetrators. My guess is that these guys would still be abusing their power if it wasn’t for his intervention in this blog.

Michael Balter said...

Thanks for this last comment. In addition to Rathjen, in the defamation complaint, Kurin comes to the defense of several other confirmed sexual abusers she claims I harassed, including Brian Richmond, David Yesner, and Ran Boytner, and of course her own ex-husband, Enmanuel Gomez Choque

Anonymous said...

All of whom, with the exception of Kurin, were shunned by their home institutions by either terminating affiliation, forcing to resign, or denying emeritus status. Now that's a club you certainly don't want to belong to.

Anonymous said...

Es muy indignante que la defensa de la Sra Kurin, diga que el Sr. Enmanuel Gomez Choque nunca fue condenado por delito alguno. Cuando realmente sí estuvo preso cumpliendo una condena por violación sexual contra una estudiante de arqueología de la Universidad de Huamanga. Si alguien solicita un certificado de antecedentes penales en el poder judicial peruano, allí estará claramente demostrado que se tarta de un ex-reo que cumplio condena por el delito de violacion sexual. También es risible que manifiesten que el mencionado delincuente es víctima de racismo y otras falacias.

Anonymous said...

“Mr. Gomez is not some powerful or cosmopolitan Peruvian. Rather he is an indigenous, first-language Quechua speaker who has lived his whole life in one of the poorest regions in the Western Hemisphere.”
Kurin’s above description of her ex-husband as that impoverished, persecuted, hut-dwelling indigenous man is also how she portrayed him when retaliating against the students who complained about his harassment in 2015. She conjures that fabricated persona when it suits her fancy, with the sinister objective of shaming and discrediting all those who complain against him. This also serves to highlight her manipulative nature. Before all the mierda hit the fan, Kurin would in fact often introduce him as that powerful and cosmopolitan Peruvian. For example, on her UCSB Bioarchaeology lab website she had a whole profile page dedicated to him, with the following Bio:

Enmanuel Gomez Choque
Affiliated Research Scientist
Universidad Nacional Jose Maria Arguedas
dgomez@unajma.edu.pe
Office Location: Andahuaylas Field Research Station, #349 Av. Peru, Andahuaylas, Apurimac, Peru
Specialization: Andean Studies; Forensic & Mortuary Archaeology; Indigenous Archaeology; Archaeometrics
Education: Maestria, Admisinstracion de Educacion Universitario, Universidad Cesar Vallejo (Peru), 2014 (exp.) Licenciatura, Universidad Nacional San Cristobal de Huamanaga (Peru), 2009 Bachiller, Universidad Nacional San Cristobal de Huamanaga (Peru), 2007

Bio:
Enmanuel is a Peruvian archaeologist, fluent in Quechua, recognized by the Registro Nacional de Arqueologos and Colegio Profesional de Arqueologos del Peru. Over the past 15 years, Enmanuel has directed a several major heritage conservation projects in the region, which have been recognized on the national level (Goethe Institut Lima; Ministerio del Ambiente; etc.). He has directed international collaborative research projects throughout Peru. As a forensic archaeologist with the Equipo Especializado Forense in Ayacucho, Enmanuel directed exhumations of victims from Peru's civil war (1980-2000). While a fellow at the Instituto Bartolome de las Casas and the Asociacion Paz y Esperanza, Enmanuel directed regional victim registrationefforts and has organized reconciliation workshops. He is the author and editor of numerous publications, including the new volume: Investigaciones Arqueologicas y Antropologicas en los Andes Sud-Centrales (Prensa Unajma). Enmanuel has served as a professor and administrator at Universidad Alas Peruanas, Universidad Tecnologica de los Andes, and Universidad Nacional Jose Maria Arguedas. He has taught courses on Andean anthropology, research methods, heritage management, archaeology and history, and rural sociology. Enmanuel is also executive director of the Andahuaylas Museum, co-director of the Andahuaylas Bioarchaeology Project, and chief administrator of the Andahuaylas Field Research Station. His current research interests include Andean archaeology, ethnoarchaeology, forensic archaeology, mortuary studies, museology, issues of tourism and cultural patrimony, and environmental archaeology. Currently, Enmanuel serves as the head of International Development at Jose Maria Arguedas National University. [Followed by a list of 10 publications]

In other pages of her website she refers to him as “Prof. Gomez.”
That bio was still posted there until at least last year:
https://web.archive.org/web/20190227200000/www.anth.ucsb.edu/kurinlab/people/enmanuel-gomez-choque

Anonymous said...

My jaw just dropped reading the comment that Gomez was still promoted as a “Affiliated Research Scientist” at UCSB in 2019! If they found him to be guilty of sexual harassment back in 2016, why did they allow his profile to be posted on an official UCSB Anthropology Department page along with other members of the Walker Lab? Most important: Is it still up? The link is password-protected…
https://kurin.anth.ucsb.edu/

Anonymous said...

Very odd that she would password-protect her lab page, considering that last year it wasn’t and all other anthro labs at the department are still open access. What is she trying to hide? If Gomez is still promoted on that page, the faculty should demand to remove it ASAP. It's a disgrace to UCSB and a slap in the face to students.

Anonymous said...

Prof. Kurin was getting high with students in her field school???
This is a direct quote from her field program syllabus
https://web.archive.org/web/20160810120805/http://ifrglobal.org/images/2016/Syllabi/Syllabus-Peru_Sondor_2016.pdf
“Don’t do anything foolish. Purchasing, buying, importing/exporting illegal drugs or paraphernalia, ancient artifacts, and weapons are serious crimes in Peru. If arrested, the police are required by international treaty to notify the US embassy. However, the embassy will not intervene on your behalf or negotiate your release. They will only contact your parents and/or give you a list of local lawyers. You are not exempt from Peruvian laws simply because you are an American or a student. The Peruvian legal system is very different from the US system; there is no presumption of innocence and there is no bail.”