The complaint, filed in the Boston Federal Court, accuses anthropology professor John Komarov, 77, of “abusing his authority and his important position for years at Harvard University to exploit trained female researchers.”
“He was kissing and touching female students without their consent and threatening to undermine their marches if they complained,” said the complaint, filed by Margaret Chervinsky, Lilia Kilburn and Amolia Mandava.
In the past five years, three women have repeatedly reported such actions to the university administration, but Harvard treated them with “willful indifference,” according to the lawsuit.
The complaint refers to an “abuse of power” and targets Harvard University, “one of the most prestigious academic institutions in the world,” and its president. The complainants demand financial compensation, the value of which has not been disclosed.
Although the complainants accuse Harvard of ignoring the complaints for a long time, the lawsuit notes that “a Harvard committee that studied the atmosphere in the Department of Anthropology has just concluded that the atmosphere is discriminatory and misogynistic (…) in a predominantly white, male-dominated college.” .
The New York Times reported on Tuesday that he began revealing the actions a year ago in the university’s newspaper. The professor was suspended and an internal investigation concluded that he had committed verbal harassment.
He is not supposed to perform teaching duties next year, the newspaper added, explaining that the university did not accuse him of sexual harassment or sexual abuse.
Lawyers for the university professor told the newspaper in a statement that their client “categorically denied” what was attributed to him.