A #STEMToo Rogue's Gallery of sexual harassers, predators, and bullies in the sciences [Updated Oct 6, 2023]

Since fall 2015, in collaboration with victims and survivors who have served as primary sources for my stories, I have had the privilege of publicly exposing the following men and women accused of sexual assault, harassment, or bullying. This list does not include a few individuals that I have named on social media, but all allegations I make publicly always based on multiple and credible sources including victims and survivors. The following links refer to my first public mentions of these individuals.

While I started off investigating sexual misconduct for Science and The Verge, I eventually moved most of my #MeToo reporting to my blog. In a September 2019 article for the Columbia Journalism Review, I explain that decision and the criticisms of media coverage of misconduct that led me to go that route.

Brian Richmond, formerly of American Museum of Natural History. Richmond was accused of sexual assault by a colleague he supervised, but the museum did little until Science began an investigation. He was eventually forced to resign.

Miguel Pinto, currently Instituto de Ciencias Biológicas, Escuela Politécnica Nacional, Ecuador. Pinto was eventually banned from the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History after he sexually assaulted a student there.

Robert Baker, Texas Tech, emeritus. Baker had a long history of sexual harassment of students which was only publicly exposed upon his retirement.

William Hylander, formerly emeritus, Duke University. Hylander is another anthropologist with a long history of sexual harassment, about which nothing was done until he was already emeritus. A Title IX investigation ended with him being stripped of his emeritus status at Duke.

Ron Clarke, University of the Witwatersrand. Clarke was given a zero tolerance warning by Wits after evidence surfaced that he had sexually harassed graduate students.

Steven Churchill, Duke University. Churchill was forced to step down as anthropology department chair at Duke after at least one inappropriate relationship with a student.

Rob Blumenschine, Rutgers University. He was given a zero tolerance warning by Wits, with which he was also affiliated, in the same procedure that looked at Ron Clarke's behavior (see above.)

Nick Longrich, University of Bath. Longrich was removed from supervising graduate students after being found guilty of bullying students at Bath. He lost a large Leverhulme Trust grant as a result. Update April 25: Longrich appears to have been "rehabilitated," and is often featured as a commenter or source in media stories about paleontology and related subjects.

David Lordkipanidze, Georgia National Museum. Lordkipanidze, according to a number of women who talked to me about their experiences with him, committed multiple sexual assaults on women and harassed many more. Amazingly, despite the weight of evidence against him, the IPHES human evolution institute in Tarragona, Spain has now promoted DL to president of its Scientific Advisory Board. This is unlikely to go unchallenged.

Rod Scott, University of Bath. Scott had a long history of sexual harassment of students at Bath. Scott took his own life in December 2018, while being investigated for this behavior.

Stephanie Diezmann, formerly University of Bath, now University of Bristol. Diezmann bullied multiple students although she was let off the hook after an investigation by Bath.

Luiz Loures, formerly of UNAIDS. Loures allegedly sexually assaulted his colleague Martina Brostrom during a meeting in Thailand. An internal investigation let him off the hook, but an external investigation found that senior UNAIDS leaders created a culture of harassment and abuse of power at the agency. Update April 2022: In what was clearly a retaliatory move, UNAIDS fired Martina Brostrom based on questionable allegations against her.

Jean-Jacques Hublin, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig. Hublin was accused by a student he had an affair with of sexual misconduct and misleading her about his marital status. Other former students have accused him of harassment, and he also allegedly fired a postdoc in his lab when he began dating Hublin's secretary (of whom he was reportedly very fond.) More recently, Tanya Smith, a highly respected biological anthropologist now at the University of Griffith in Australia, has published her story about how Hublin tried to wreck her career over many years because she did not toe the line about his insistence that no one could ever be independent of him. Update April 2022: Hublin has retired from the Leipzig institute and is now a member of the College de France. He reportedly lives in Paris.

David Yesner, University of Alaska, Anchorage. (I did not break the initial story on this case, but followed it for months and I am doing followup. Yesner became a major flash point when he showed up unexpected at the SAA meetings in Albuquerque.) Update April 2022: Some archaeologists continue to either spread or believe lies about what happened at the SAA meeting in 2019.

Fethi Ahmed, University of the Witwatersrand. Ahmed was dismissed as head of the Wits School of Geography, Archaeology, and Environmental Sciences after being found guilty of gender-based bullying of seven complainants. His dismissal was upheld on appeal.

Deanna Grimstead, Ohio State University. Found guilty by an OSU investigation of sexual harassment of a student in 2015, no apparent action taken, still employed and teaching. Found guilty again last year, in a second Title IX investigation. Finally forced to resign, effective Jan 1, 2020.

Randall White, New York University. Suspended from NYU for a year in the 1990s for a long history of sexual harassment, the whole episode covered up by the university, but not forgotten by those who suffered. I have called upon White to come clean about what he did and the effect it had on young researchers as he retires in August. Update April 2022: White was forced into early retirement from NYU, behind the scenes, and now lives in France.

Kevin Folta, University of Florida horticulture department, and leading biotech advocate. Although Folta is best known for extensive conflicts of interest in his self-proclaimed role as a "science communicator," there are also multiple witnesses to his having abused his ex-wife while they were married. He was forced to step down as chair of the department in the wake of those revelations.

Michael WestawayUniversity of Queensland in Australia. Bullying, harassment, unethical conduct.

Alan Cooper, ancient DNA, University of Adelaide. Bullying, harassment, unethical behavior. The university launched a "culture check" as a result of publicity about the case and victims coming forward; that inquiry led to Cooper's suspension as director of the lab pending disciplinary action. Update Dec 20, 2019: Cooper has been fired. Nevertheless he continues to publish from time to time in association with other Australian institutions who are willing to overlook his history.

Charles Esdaile, University of Liverpool, Department of History. Sexual predation.

James Doughty, University of Bath. A good friend and enabler of the late U of Bath researcher and sexual predator Rod Scott (see above.) Harassment and sleeping with students.

Faye McCallum, Head of School of Education, University of Adelaide. Multiple complaints of bullying of colleagues, harassment, favoritism, preferential treatment, and other abusive and unprofessional behavior. A university inquiry ("culture check") heard the evidence but university officials have done nothing so far.

Filipe Castro, anthropology, Texas AM. Severe sexism and sexual harassment, unethical behavior. Fired, Jan 2021.

Sharon Gursky, anthropology, Texas AM. Bullying, unethical behavior including stealing student research ideas.

Bruce Dickson, anthropology, Texas AM, emeritus. Sexual harassment.

Wayne Smith, anthropology, Texas AM, nautical archaeology. Sexual harassment.

Darryl de Ruiter, department chair, anthropology, TAMU. Sexual harassment and bullying, Title IX. Update April 2022: There are some indications that de Ruiter has now tried to take leadership against sexual harassment and in creating a safe atmosphere for students, but the jury is out on that.

Michael Alvardanthropology, Texas AM. Ethical issues with requiring students to participate in a study involuntarily, bullying and threatening students who expressed concerns about it. Reprimanded, Jan 2021.

Richard Martin, cultural anthropologist, University of Queensland. Long history of sexual harassment, of which the university is well aware. More to come.

Danielle Kurin and Enmanuel Gomez Choque, University of California, Santa Barbara. Sexual harassment, sexual assault, and retaliation against students who reported it. An updated report on later events can be found at this link. Kurin has now sued me for defamation. GoFundMe link with updates here.
Update Jan 2022: Kurin has resigned her tenured position at UCSB under a cloud of suspicion that she misled the mother of a missing teenager into thinking she had found his remains. The investigation of the case of the missing teen, Jack Cantin, is approaching a full year and is not yet resolved.

Arthur Demarest, MesoAmerica expert, Vanderbilt University. Sexual harassment, attempts at retaliation. More to come.

Alan Lee, graduate student in the University of Wisconsin-Madison anthropology department. Sexual predation, threats against those he suspects of outing him.

Ran Boytner, Executive Director of the Institute for Field Research. Sexual harassment, bullying, racism, sexism, and enabling of sexual assault at one of the archaeology field schools he directs. Update June 2020: Boytner has been fired as IFR executive director by its governing board. Update April 2022: Boytner is now running, behind the scenes, the Center for Field Studies, where a number of leading scholars have either been hoodwinked or become complicit with an abuser.

Peter Rathjen, most recently Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Adelaide in Australia. Sexual predation over many years, protecting a pedophile. Forced to step down after a major corruption investigation that has, as they say, rocked Australia.

Pier Paolo Pandolfi, formerly cancer researcher at Harvard Medical School's Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, forced to resign for allegations of sexual harassment; just picked up by the Desert Research Institute in Nevada (did they know?) Update June 27, 2020: Corriere della Sera confirms the story

Sam Gue, formerly with University of Adelaide dental school and Women's and Children's Hospital in Adelaide; forced to resign for a years-long history of sexual harassment and bullying. More to come soon.

Luis Jaime Castillo Butters, an Andean archaeologist at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru, former Peruvian culture minister, accused of bullying, sexual harassment, sleeping with students. Castillo's activities have come to light as a result of an investigation by The Harvard Crimson into misconduct by a close collaborator of his, Harvard anthropologist Gary Urton. The survivors of Castillo's abuse have issued a powerful statement about their experiences.
Update Feb 27, 2021: A special sexual harassment commission appointed by PUCP found strong evidence that Castillo had indeed committed sexual harassment, but was unable to recommend discipline due to technical issues.
Update Oct 13, 2021: Castillo’s membership in the U.S. National Academy of Sciences has been rescinded after a misconduct investigation.
Update April 2022: Castillo has sued one of the NAS truth-tellers for defamation. He wants to put her in jail. 

Geoffrey Braswell, UC San Diego anthropologist. Aggravated sexual harassment. Developing story, but when three survivors come to me independently to tell me their stories, it's time to call an abuser out.

Necmi Karul, head of the prehistory department at Istanbul University, and director of important excavations in Turkey including early Neolithic Gobekli Tebe. Sexual harassment, charges filed in July 2020. Update July 16, 2020: The allegations have now broken into the Turkish press. Update July 31: My post on the accusations including a detailed letter from one of the victims translated into English.

Mark Siddall, former curator at the American Museum of Natural History. The museum did the investigation, although it took them years of complaints to get around to it; I was tipped off some months ago and kept updating the story as it went along. Now he is gone.

Aaron van der Reest. Former student of famed dinosaur maven Philip Currie at University of Alberta, now at University of Saskatchewan. Sexual harassment, sexual assault, passed from one institution to another.

Brian Pratt and Bill Patterson of the University of Saskatchewan Geological Sciences department. Details to come.

Leonardo Avilla, paleontologist at the Federal University of the State of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Numerous credible reports of sexual harassment and degradation of students. Update Dec 13: UNIRIO has suspended Avilla pending an investigation, after accusers and allies appeared on the Brazilian TV program “Fantastico”  Update Oct 5, 2023: After a two-year investigation, UNIRIO has dismissed Avilla for misconduct.

Walter Jetz, ecologist and evolutionary biologist at Yale University. Bullying, data stealing, toxic lab climate.

Adrien Finzi, biologist forced to resign from Boston University due to years of abusive and bullying behavior.

Max Allen, carnivore ecologist at University of Illinois, subject of at least two Title IX complaints for sexual harassment.

Post a Comment


Anonymous said…
I was wondering why one of your entries here doesn't have a hyperlinked story or post from your blog? Is it forthcoming?
Anonymous said…
great post
Anonymous said…
Every now and again I pass by this entry with great sadness, wishing my professor’s name was on this list for all to see. He was a serial abuser and TTU Title IX absolutely failed me, and others, in our complaints. It destroyed my graduate career. I am now in student debt and mourn the loss of my education and the financial burden placed upon me. We pay to get an education, not to be accosted. I’m so angry that other young women will have to face a man who, while no longer employed there due to my last fighting effort to be heard, is still actively employed and doing research with female faculty. Speaking out felt like I accomplished nothing other than getting a mark for “being difficult”. It shouldn’t be this hard in any discipline.
Michael Balter said…
To the last commenter: Please feel free to get in touch with me privately.