Woman in bat-sex row is expert nutritionist
University reacts angrily after details made public
Published 18/05/2010 | 05:00
A university lecturer who filed a complaint of sexual harassment against a colleague who showed her an article about the sex life of fruit bats is a highly regarded expert on clinical nutrition.
Dr Rossana Salerno Kennedy lectures in medical education at University College Cork.
The much-published academic, who has a special interest in nutrition and the elderly, is married to Professor Peter Kennedy, vice president of research at UCC.
Dr Salerno Kennedy could not be contacted for comment yesterday, as Dr Dylan Evans demanded that sanctions imposed on him after the fruit-bats article incident be reversed.
The offending article, published in an academic journal, detailed how fruit bats prolong copulation via oral sex and Dr Evans said he showed it to a number of colleagues on the same day, one of whom complained.
Dr Evans, who lectures in behavioural science, has had a two-year period of intensive monitoring and counselling imposed on him, which he fears will have implications for his chances of gaining tenure at UCC.
Details of the controversy appeared on a number of websites in recent days and sparked international interest.
UCC appointed an external team to investigate complaints made by Dr Salerno Kennedy about Dr Evans' behaviour towards her in the period up to November 2, 2009, the day he showed her the fruit bats article, and about the incident itself.
In her letter of complaint, she said that November 2 was "not the first time Dr Evans has raised sexual subjects with me" and on that day she felt his behaviour was "inappropriate and offensive".
The investigators rejected the complaints about the period before November 2, but upheld the complaint about the fruit- bats article incident, although they ruled it was not Dr Evans' intention to cause offence.
UCC has reacted with anger to the publication of confidential documents. The college said it viewed "with the utmost gravity the fact that confidential documentation concerning an internal allegation of sexual harassment was posted to social media platforms, in contravention of university policy".
The college insisted "the rights of staff who may wish to take similar action in future would also be affected, were confidentiality to be broken."
Dr Evans, who is being supported by the Irish Federation of University Teachers, told the Irish Independent yesterday that he had not released any documents in the case.
He launched an online petition seeking support for the reversal of the sanctions and said he had received letters from leading academics, including Professor Patrick Bateson, Provost of King's College Cambridge.