Professor Has a Case After Penis Pic Got Out
(CN) - A woman who shared a picture of her married professor's penis after he allegedly got her pregnant and made her fear for her safety must face fraud claims, a federal judge ruled.
While he was an associate professor at University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health in May 2012, Tianyi Wang began dating and having a sexual relationship with Aram Lee, his student research assistant in the Department of Infectious Diseases and Microbiology.
He is suing her now in Pittsburgh for invasion of privacy, fraud, defamation and other claims.
U.S. District Judge Arthur Schwab denied Lee summary judgment last week, explaining the allegations in the light most favorable to Wang, as the nonmoving party.
Wang admits that the couple often sent photos of their genitals to each other, though he knew the university had a policy against sexual relationships between professors and students.
When Dr. Charles Rinaldo and other university officials confronted Wang about the affair in mid-August 2012, both the professor and student denied it.
But after Wang confessed to several church members in the following months, his wife found out and informed his parents and siblings.
That winter, Lee learned she was pregnant with twins by Wang and moved to Washington, where Wang allegedly sent her cash, groceries, perfume, shoes and other items.
On Feb. 28 and March 2, 2013, Lee revealed her sexual relationship with Wang in emails to university officials, police, and Wang's wife and church friends, according to the complaint. Lee allegedly said in these emails that Wang had been emailing her and that she feared for her safety.
In a similar email Lee sent to Wang's wife and 37 others, Lee attached a photograph of Wang's penis, according to the complaint. Lee allegedly said Wang was disgusted by his wife and was sending Lee money and other gifts, but would never see their twins.
Wang resigned from his job at Pittsburgh the next month. He said he had applied earlier that year for a faculty position at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, that the school did not hire him because of concerns about his alleged harassment of Lee.
As Wang applied to join the faculty at the University of Maryland in the summer of 2013, Lee was denied an anti-harassment action against Wang in Washington.
She nevertheless emailed University of Maryland officials that said she was granted an order or protection against Wang in Washington, according to the complaint.
Lee allegedly asked the school to serve him attached documents when Wang gave a speech at the school as part of the job interview.
In September, a judge in Snohomish County, Wash., entered a permanent anti-harassment order that bans Wang from being within 100 yards of Lee or contacting her, according to the complaint.
Wang said he soon rejected a three-year, $400,000 contract from Maryland.
"The following are examples of material facts that are in dispute: the extent the parties displayed affection in public; whether defendant was pregnant with twins and what happened to the pregnancy; what items plaintiff sent to defendant from Jan. 24 to Feb. 20, 2013; whether defendant accepted money that was allegedly sent to her by plaintiff; if defendant authored various emails; the purpose of these emails; the basis of defendant's anti-harassment petitions; when and how the University of Pittsburgh became aware of the parties' affair; the nature of the disciplinary consequences faced by a professor at the University of Pittsburgh where a professor had a relationship with a student; if plaintiff was forced to resign from the University of Pittsburgh or did so to avoid an investigation by University officials into his affair with defendant; and whether the University of Maryland's offer was reasonable or a 'polite way of rejecting' plaintiff," Schwab wrote. "These disputed facts are central to plaintiff's claims."
The parties may present witnesses and evidence at a non-jury trial, the ruling states.