UCC lecturer claims sexual harassment inquiry ‘unfair’

A UCC lecturer who was the subject of a sexual harassment inquiry after he showed a female colleague a scientific paper on the sex life of fruit bats has claimed in the High Court that he was not given a fair hearing.

Behavioural science lecturer Dr Dylan Evans, 43, says the inquiry failed to take into account or interview another woman whom, he says, was also present when he showed the paper to School of Medicine colleague Dr Salerno Kennedy.

In judicial review proceedings which opened 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 how Dr Kennedy complained that she was distressed and upset when on November 2 last year he showed her the paper entitled Fellatio by Fruit Bats Prolongs Copulation Time. She complained it was not the first time he had raised sexual subjects with her.

Two external investigators were appointed by the college to investigate the complaints and last February they found the incident fell within the definition of sexual harassment under the university’s duty of respect and right to dignity policy.

The investigators rejected Dr Kennedy’s complaints about the period prior to November 2.

Opening the case Brian Kennedy QC, for Dr Evans, said 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 that Dr Patricia Chalmers was also present when he showed the article to Dr Kennedy.

High Court president Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns said before adjourning the case until today he would have to see where responsibility would lie for the “evidential shortfall” in relation to the calling of Dr Chalmers.

Dr Evans is claiming that as a result of the findings, he was not recommended for an established post.

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