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Physicist Uses Physics To Rebut Sexual Misconduct Allegations

By  Ashe Schow

Arizona State University physicist Lawrence M. Krauss spent 40 years building his reputation. All of that was taken away after a few women accused him of inappropriate comments or touches.

His employer looked to fire him, but Krauss agreed to resign after ASU found him responsible for sexual misconduct based on a selfie and the women’s claims. After ASU’s finding against him, ASU dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Patrick Kenney wanted to fire Krauss, who appealed the decision with a 51-page document rebutting the women’s claims. Last Thursday, Krauss shared this document on Twitter.

“The documents I submitted to ASU in August, 2018 [sic] to appeal the Dean’s recommendation can be viewed here,” he wrote. “These factually confronted the allegations described in the earlier University determination regarding me.”

In a statement provided with the document, Krauss called the allegations against him “false, inappropriate or inflated” and said ASU refused to provide his evidence to the media, which was excoriating him as yet another #MeToo abuser.

“As a result, reporters and the public have had access to an incomplete, and hence inaccurate, treatment of the facts associated with the claims investigated by the University,” Krauss wrote.

“People who read these documents and compare them to the reports that have previously been made available will recognize the dangers inherent when judgments are made without a full and impartial hearing, where all evidence is available, and both evidence and allegations are subject to questioning and scrutiny,” Krauss added. “Otherwise, false statements can go can [sic] uncontested, and minor complaints are presented alongside and equated otherwise serious allegations.”

Within the 51-page appeal document, which was also provided to the Chronicle of Higher Education, Krauss wrote that many of the allegations against him were made by disgruntled former employees. He said the process to find him responsible no matter the evidence made him “almost physically ill.”

One piece of evidence against Krauss was a photo he took with a fan, who is leaning back toward him to take a selfie. She claimed the photo showed his hand moving toward her breast just before he grabbed it. Krauss says a closer examination of the photo clearly shows his hand is actually moving away from the woman’s breast. He said he should have caught this earlier, being a physicist. After showing the photo to colleagues, he said, they agreed with the trajectory of his hand.

Krauss did apologize if he accidentally touched her breast during a “clumsy personal interaction,” but said it was not sexual, at least, no more so than her leaning against him to take the photo.

Another woman claimed Krauss touched her thigh at a conference while she wore a black minidress. Krauss said her claim was “physically impossible” and that he and his wife tried to recreate what she said happened and could not unless he was squatted down “like a catcher.”

“The idea that while facing her I would grab her dress so thoroughly that the back of my hand would be inside it, then move my hand around her thigh, just doesn’t work physically,” he wrote in his appeal. “My wife and I have tried to recreate it several times and failed. I would have had to squat down and look almost like a catcher.”

People would have noticed that, he said. Krauss believes she made the accusation only after an article about him appeared in Buzzfeed, which he called a “modern-day tabloid.” She posted the allegation on YouTube, leading him to suspect she only made the claim, seven years after it allegedly happened, “to get hits for her YouTube channel.”

Krauss was also found responsible for allegedly suggesting a threesome to a woman who had wanted to work for him. Krauss said the woman was a friend, and he may have made an inappropriate joke at a private lunch with her in 2009, a year before she said she wanted to work for him.

Krauss also rebutted other allegations, one from an undergraduate who said he ogled her. Krauss explained this as either a clumsy way of making her feel comfortable before she realized she was dressed inappropriately for the event (she was wearing “a short blue romper”) or he made a sarcastic comment to make her realize this earlier. He said he didn’t “linger or leer.”

In yet another accusation, Krauss was accused of showing an inappropriate drawing to staff members. He said it was “an admittedly juvenile drawing trick” he learned in fifth grade but that he drew it only after their “enthusiastic consent.” He said there was “more sexually explicit material in Disney movies.”

The accusations against Krauss appear to be exaggerated, but he said that even if some were true, none rose to the level of “severe and pervasive” that warranted his firing, he said.

In the statement Krauss released with the appeal document, he lamented the Title IX process that led to his downfall.

“Independent of my own situation, there are important issues that need to be addressed regarding Title IX procedures at universities throughout the U.S.,” he wrote. “An eerie Kafkaesque system is now the almost the [sic] norm throughout U.S. higher education, often involving a single, and sometimes biased, investigator who may play the role of prosecutor, judge and jury, in a process where accused individuals, often students, may not have access to counsel or evidence or even sometimes to the accusations themselves, or have [the] ability to question evidence or cross-examine witnesses before a judgement is made.”

Krauss is not wrong in his assessment, as previous Daily Wire reporting shows. His rebuttal likely won’t change the minds of those who have already determined him a sexual predator, but perhaps those who haven’t heard much about the case will think twice before condemning him.

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