Third Student Sexually Harassed by SDSU Professor: University Investigation - NBC 7 San Diego
NBC 7 Investigates
SDSU Spanish Professor accused of sexually harrassing students

SEND TIPS619-578-0393

Third Student Sexually Harassed by SDSU Professor: University Investigation

The attorney for Professor Vincent Martin says he disputes the findings

NEWSLETTERS

    processing...
    A third student has come forward alleging she was sexually harassed by San Diego State University Spanish professor Vincent Martin. NBC 7 Investigates' Mari Payton reports on May 7, 2015. (Published Friday, May 8, 2015)

    A third female San Diego State University student said she was sexually harassed by Spanish Professor Vincent Martin.

    The third student came forward Wednesday, after seeing NBC 7 Investigates stories about two other SDSU investigations confirming sexual harassment by Martin.

    Click here to see more on first student  and here for more on the second student.

    According to this newly obtained confidential report, Martin “engaged in conduct sufficiently severe and/or pervasive” with this third student, concluding that Martin’s overall behavior violated SDSU’s policy’s against sexual harassment.

    The report says Martin and this third student “engaged in a consensual sexual relationship” beginning in early 2013. At the same time, Martin hired the woman to help him with personal computer services, the report said.

    “It is more likely than not that Martin made offers [to the student] of academic advantages in exchange for sexual favors,” the report concludes.

    According to the report, “Martin was dishonest during a prior (University) investigation when he stated that he had not had a relationship with [the student]. This dishonesty affects Martin’s credibility in this present investigation.”

    Martin has not responded to requests for comment, but his lawyer said Martin disputes the findings in all three reports and will challenge them.

    In this latest investigation, the university concluded there was not enough evidence to confirm other allegations the student made against Martin.

    According to the investigation letter, while “it was more likely than not” Martin referred to the student in terms that were “sexual in nature”, there was not enough evidence to find Martin’s use of those terms was, on its own, “severe and/or pervasive enough to constitute sexual harassment.”

    The investigator also could not sustain the student’s allegation that Martin sexually assaulted her during a visit to her apartment on August 14, 2014.

    But in addition to the conclusion that Martin’s overall behavior constituted sexual harassment, the investigator found Martin “engaged in unprofessional conduct.”

    The letter was sent to the student on March 11. It was forwarded to SDSU’s Provost and Faculty Affairs, “and appropriate action will be taken.”

    As NBC 7 Investigates revealed the investigations into Martin, outraged members and supporters of SDSU’s Andrea O’Donnell Womyn’s Outreach Association staged a silent protest Tuesday outside Martin’s office at the University’s Department of Spanish and Portuguese.

    Employment law expert Bibi Fell said the findings of these investigations put SDSU on notice that Martin is a risk.

    "While he's still teaching, there's certainly the risk that other students are being harassed," Fell said. Fell is a senior trial lawyer with Gomez Trial Attorneys in San Diego.

    If Martin harasses another student, Fell said that victim could have ample evidence to sue Martin, the University and California taxpayers for emotional distress and other damages.

    "And what we find is that when a jury sees a pattern of conduct that should have been stopped but wasn't, they tend to hit the defendant hard."

    NBC 7 Investigates confirmed Martin is still teaching classes. According to SDSU’s Chief Communications Officer Greg Block, Martin was scheduled to teach a Summer Session class this June at SDSU but the class was recently canceled due to low enrollment.

    The university won't confirm or deny whether Martin has been disciplined and says it can't disclose anything about the investigative or disciplinary process without violating Martin's right to privacy.

    NBC 7 Investigates is working for you. If you have more information about this or other story tips, contact us: (619) 578-0393, NBC7Investigates@nbcuni.com. To receive the latest NBC 7 Investigates stories, subscribe to our newsletter.