“Rape-Prevention Scholar Who ‘Celebrated #MeToo’ Is Accused of Sexual Assault and Harassment” (Chronicle of Higher Education; paywalled, but this link might still work):
[Erin] O’Callaghan has accused Schewe, an associate professor of criminology whose research specialty is sexual-assault prevention, of assaulting her in November 2017.
Schewe has vigorously denied that claim, and Title IX investigators exonerated him after concluding that O’Callaghan’s most serious accusation — that Schewe undressed her and started to perform oral sex on her when she was too drunk to consent — could not be substantiated.
Schewe, who is in his early 50s and has worked in the field for more than a quarter-century, regards the implications of the movement differently now that he stands accused.
“I celebrated #MeToo. I thought, ‘Yes! Victims are finally being believed and men are being called out for their shitty behavior. This is fantastic,’” he said in an interview last week with The Chronicle. But the side effect of that, he said, “is that people are now guilty by accusation.”
(“guilty by association” with the drunk woman’s naked body?)
Working from a base of decades of scholarly inquiry, #BelieveWomen turns out to have some subtle exceptions:
He told Title IX investigators that he has devoted his life “to preventing violence against women” and is inclined ”to believe survivors” — even as he dismissed O’Callaghan’s accusations as “something she largely created in her own mind.”
But in his interview with The Chronicle, Schewe said: “If she would have told me that a professor got her drunk and took advantage of her, I would give her support. I would believe her.”
To Schewe, his ordeal is evidence that it’s gone too far. “Maybe it’s a warning to everybody that nobody is safe in the #MeToo era,” Schewe said. And his takeaway? “That guys should stay away from any woman because they have the potential to destroy their life with a couple of words with no consequence to them.”
Life at the University of Illinois can be cozy, at least for those who are not so drunk as to have forgotten most of it:
The lawsuit states that O’Callaghan, who had consumed one or two drinks at Schewe’s apartment [after five or six drinks at a bar], fell asleep on the couch. At some point the rest of the guests went on a late-night food run, leaving O’Callaghan and Schewe alone.
Schewe, intoxicated and “extremely tired,” said he lay down on his bed. He said that O’Callaghan followed him into the bedroom, took off her jeans, and climbed into bed with him.
“Nothing happened, of course,” Schewe told The Chronicle. “Being a sexual-assault-prevention researcher, I knew that there was no safer place that she could be.”
O’Callaghan says in the lawsuit that while she does not recall how she ended up in Schewe’s bed, she remembers that at some point, he “entered the bedroom, laughed, pulled her pants and underwear down, and performed oral sex on her, all without consent.” That’s when O’Callaghan says she blacked out.
Who paid for all of these drinks, you might ask? The taxpayers of Illinois! They’re on the hook to pay lawyers to defend the university from the referenced lawsuit. They’ll also be paying their share of the salaries of judges and other Federal court officials. They’re paying the accused scholar’s salary and benefits while he is “on administrative leave”. They’ll each work a few extra hours in 2020 if there is a fat settlement for the plaintiffs.
(Practical tip in case someone complains about the contents of your PC’s hard drive:
In his statement to the Title IX investigators and his interview with The Chronicle, Schewe dismissed many of the women’s claims outright. No, he did not offer cocaine to Kirkner and Lorenz, nor did he make the remark Lorenz’s partner attributed to him after her dissertation defense. While it’s possible Lorenz saw a nude woman on his desktop-computer screen, such images are common in work on rape prevention and teaching safe sex.
Another practical aspect of this is that the married guy in his early 50s (a “wife” is mentioned) was able to get a woman half his age to share his bed by expressing a passion for some female-oriented issues.)
The good news is that public radio will now have a little more color.
The lawsuit against Schewe, a clinical psychologist who has shared his expertise on rape prevention with such outlets as NPR and Quartz, is one of the more unusual sexual-misconduct cases confronting higher education. Schewe has served as director of the university’s Interdisciplinary Center for Research on Violence, and he recently co-edited the Handbook of Sexual Assault and Sexual Assault Prevention (Springer, 2019).
- Campusland, a funny novel on a #NotFunny subject