After Settling Athlete Sex Abuse Case, University of Michigan Hit with Professor Sex Abuse Allegations

 

A prominent former professor at the University of Michigan (UM) has been accused by eight former students of sexual misconduct, ranging from groping to rape, according to reports.

University spokesman Rick Fitzgerald told The Michigan Star that Professor Bruce Conforth’s tenure at the school ended in 2017, when he admitted to allegations of sexual misconduct. Conforth resigned, and agreed to “a separation agreement outlined his permanent removal from the university, no contact with students and other requirements.”

Conforth taught American Culture at the school. He is a well-known guitarist who played music with some of the world’s most famous musicians, and was the first curator of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He was once crowned UM’s best professor at its campus in Ann Arbor.

But from at least 2007, Conforth was allegedly having inappropriate interactions with students.

One student called Katherine McMahan, who took a 2007 class with Conforth, said he sexually accosted her at a bar, and attempted to get him to come back to his house for the night.

Another student, Isabelle Brourman, said Conforth “gradually controlled her life” by telling her he was a member of the Illuminati. He reportedly friended her on Facebook, got her phone number, and contacted her in a number of ways, including sending her faked emails saying she had to obey Conforth’s Illuminati demands or face consequences. Those demands included sex with Conforth. In the lawsuit, Brourman says Conforth raped her several times over a period of years.

Brourman also accused the school of not taking action soon enough, despite having evidence that Conforth was a predator.

“Mr. Conforth was covered by a collective bargaining agreement that includes a several-step process before an employee can be dismissed. Any employee may resign before that process is complete,” Fitzgerald told The Star. “The university, or any employer, does not need to agree for an employee to resign. It is important to note in this situation that Mr. Conforth was not offered anything (compensation, benefits, etc.) in exchange for his resignation.”

Other victims have not spoken out publicly.

Fitzgerald said the school is working with a consulting company to implement new regulations that would end such behavior.

“We have added new policies that prohibit teacher-learner romantic relationships, that prohibit supervisor-supervisee relationships and strengthened our policy against any type of retaliation,” he said. “And are developing a cultural change process that was outlined last summer.”

UM just two weeks ago settled a $490 million lawsuit with former football players and wrestlers at the school, who were sexually abused by sports doctor Robert Anderson. The doctor had a reputation for predatory behavior stemming from the 1970’s and for decades thereafter. Anderson, who died well before the settlement, sexually more than 1,000 athletes.

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Pete D’Abrosca is a contributor at The Michigan Star and The Star News Network. Follow Pete on Twitter. Email tips to dabroscarepo[email protected].
Photo “Bruce Conforth” by the University of Michigan. 

 

 

 

 

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