Sunday 4 December 2016

Lecturer: 'I didn't get fair hearing in bat-sex case'

Tim Healy

Published 01/12/2010 | 05:00

A LECTURER has claimed he was not given a fair hearing during an inquiry into sexual harassment allegations against him after he showed a female colleague a scientific paper about the sex life of fruit bats.

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University College Cork (UCC) behavioural science lecturer, Dr Dylan Evans (43), says the inquiry failed to take into account or interview another woman who he says was also present when he showed the paper to school of medicine colleague Dr Rossana Salerno Kennedy.

In judicial review proceedings which opened in the High Court yesterday, Dr Evans is seeking to quash the inquiry findings and subsequent sanctions imposed on him, including a two-year period of monitoring and training.

UCC denies his claims.

The court heard yesterday that Dr Kennedy complained she was distressed and upset when on November 2, 2009, he showed her the paper entitled 'Fellatio by Fruit Bats Prolongs Copulation Time'.

She also complained it was not the first time he had raised sexual subjects with her.

Dr Evans, in an affidavit, said it was not unusual for him to drop into Dr Kennedy's office to discuss research and social topics. In this instance, he was interested in correlations between human and animal behaviour patterns which may suggest an evolutionary origin to certain human behaviours.

Investigators

Arising out of this incident, two external investigators were appointed by the college. They found the incident fell within the definition of sexual harassment under the university's 'Duty of Respect and Right to Dignity' policy.

Brian Kennedy, for Dr Evans, told the court yesterday his client had a "fairly sparkling" career and was on a two-year probationary period which new appointees to permanent lectureships are required to serve before they become established in that post.

The court heard Dr Evans was also claiming he was not alone with Dr Kennedy when the article was shown. He claims a Dr Patricia Chalmers was also present and that because they were not alone, as Dr Kennedy claimed, this was significant and had not been dealt with by investigators.

High Court President Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns said that he would have to see where responsibility for the "evidential shortfall" in relation to the calling of Dr Chalmers would lie.

Dr Evans also claims that as a result of the inquiry findings, he was not recommended for an established post even though he was told that his performance, in all other respects, during the two year probationary period, had been outstanding.

The case continues.

Irish Independent

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