Two former students join class-action lawsuit against Dartmouth 

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 5/2/2019 6:32:57 PM
Modified: 5/2/2019 6:32:47 PM

HANOVER — Two more former students have joined a $70 million class-action lawsuit against Dartmouth College, adding to allegations that the college failed to respond adequately to complaints of sexual misconduct by three professors in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences. 

The new plaintiffs in the lawsuit filed in federal court in Concord on Wednesday are a Dartmouth undergraduate from 2008 to 2012 who is identified as “Jane Doe 2”  and a graduate and post-doctoral fellow at Dartmouth between 2003 and 2009 identified as “Jane Doe 3” in the lawsuit.

Jane Doe 2 asserts that then-professor Paul Whalen sexually assaulted her and “engaged in nonconsensual intercourse” in November 2012 when she was intoxicated and had asked him to leave her apartment.

Jane Doe 3 asserts that then-professor Bill Kelley “would often condition his assistance” on her research work on meeting at a bar for a drink, and that he “coerced her into an ongoing sexual relationship.”

When she attempted to end it, Kelley said, “Good luck getting your Ph.D. now,” according to the lawsuit.

She also says in the lawsuit that Kelley, Whalen, and the third former professor, Todd Heatherton, “all made demeaning and sexual comments about women in their labs.”

The amended lawsuit also says two of the professors contacted them during an internal inquiry Dartmouth was conducting. 

The three professors all left Dartmouth last summer, either retiring or resigning before the college could fire them following internal investigations which resulted in recommendations that they be terminated.

Whalen and Kelley could not be immediately reached for comment on Thursday. Heatherton’s attorney Julie Moore said she had not yet had a chance to review the amended complaint. Dartmouth responded in January to the original lawsuit filed by seven former or current students and denied that its leaders knew about and tolerated sexual misconduct perpetrated by the three former professors.

In an email on Thursday, Dartmouth spokeswoman Diana Lawrence said, “We commend the bravery of the individuals who have stepped forward to expose misconduct by three former faculty members in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences. We deeply regret that any student experienced or was exposed to such conduct at Dartmouth.”

She also said the amended complaint “was recently filed that includes two additional former students who are now raising allegations against two of the former PBS faculty members. These allegations were not reported as part of the Title IX investigation. We take the allegations seriously and are investigating them now.”

Posted at 2:05 p.m. Thursday.

Valley News Staff Writer Nora Doyle-Burr can be reached at or 603-727-3213.

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