As I reported earlier, Peruvian archaeologist and former culture minister Luis Jaime Castillo Butters has sued Peruvian anthropologist Marcela Poirier for defamation, following her truth-telling about his long history of sexual harassment and bullying, including to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. After an investigation, the NAS rescinded Castillo's membership, the first time an international member has been kicked out of the Academy.
Earlier, the sexual harassment commission of Castillo's university, the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru, found the allegations to be supported by the evidence. However, the PUCP has taken no action against him, and he is still teaching there; even worse, the university has threatened to suspend students who protested and demanded that it take action.
The hearing in this case will be heard by the court in Lima, in an online session, on April 8. Marcela faces a possible 30 months in jail and and approximately $50,000 in damages, if the court decides to give Castillo what he is demanding. I will be one of the witnesses, testifying to the findings of my reporting on Castillo, which was based on the accounts of numerous survivors.
Fortunately, support for Marcela is building. The above statement in her support was just published, signed by more than 100 organizations, feminist groups, and individuals. (I hope to have an English translation of it available soon and will post it here.)
Meanwhile, the NAS, along with the Institute of Andean Studies--which brings together many of the scholars in Castillo's field of study--have been alerted about this emergency situation, and the IAS is now looking into it. I am awaiting an update from the NAS about what action, if any, it plans to take.
I hope this show of support for Marcela in her own country will trigger the consciences of her colleagues in the United States (Marcela got her PhD at Purdue University) and around the world to the point where they will speak out against this blatant and vicious retaliation against a colleague who simply told the truth about an abuser. I have also written personally to four American anthropologists well known for their #MeToo advocacy (the authors of the groundbreaking "SAFE" study), in hopes that they too will issue a statement of solidarity.
Please watch this space for further developments.
Update April 4: The Institute of Andean Studies, the professional organization closest to Castillo's area of research, issues a strong statement prompted by his lawsuit against Marcela Poirier. This is the way to step up.