Sexual Misconduct – Employment; Title IX; Faculty & Staff; Sexual Misconduct & Other Campus Violence
FaÏza Harbri v. Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Walter Lewin (D. Mass. September 1, 2017)
Memorandum and Order granting in part and denying in part Defendant’s motion to dismiss. Plaintiff, a French national enrolled in online courses with Defendant, a professor teaching an online course through the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), alleged a violation of Title IX against MIT, as well as state law claims of negligence, negligent infliction of emotion distress, intentional infliction of emotional distress, assault, breach of contract, and a violation of Massachusetts sexual harassment law against the professor and MIT. Plaintiff sued following online receipt of sexually explicit messages and nude photographs from the professor, as well as witnessing him commit sexual acts through video calls on Skype. The court dismissed the Title IX claim, finding that Title IX’s jurisdiction did not include conduct committed in the United States that was then transmitted over the Internet to an individual physically living abroad. The court also dismissed the breach of contract claim, finding that no valid contract existed. However, the court found that the case could proceed under the state law claims of sexual harassment, negligence, negligent infliction of emotional distress, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.