Suit alleges policy failure



Stephanie Urie DIV ’02 filed a lawsuit last week against the University for allegedly failing to protect her once she came forward with sexual abuse allegations against Theology and African-American Studies professor Gilbert Bond in 2002.

“I am saddened by having to take this serious and public step in asking for Yale to adhere to its policies with regard to sexual harassment complaints,” Urie said in an e-mail.

Urie accused the University of disregarding numerous warnings from other Divinity School faculty members that Bond had a history of sexual discrimination, including an incident with another female student in 1997.

Yale spokeswoman Helaine Klasky said the University disputes the case’s merit.

“We don’t believe the allegations against Yale are supported by the facts,” Klasky said.

Urie said Bond became her mentor at the Divinity School. She said she was contacted by Bond in June 2002, when he asked her to meet him in Boston to discuss a job prospect. Urie said Bond forced her to have sexual relations with him while in Boston.

Bond said he was not Urie’s mentor at the Divinity School.

“The allegations are unfounded, without substance and totally false,” Bond said. “It will take some time, but I will be exonerated.”

When Urie came forth with the accusations, she said the University gave Bond a great deal of her personal information.

“[Yale] immediately turned over to Professor Bond my medical records and names of my confidants who supported my coming forward, even after promising me they would protect that information,” Urie said.

Urie’s lawyer, Elizabeth Grant, said the Yale police also denied Urie an escort for protection.

“When Stephanie requested a Yale police escort during her work on campus, particularly during the evening, that was refused to her by the Yale police, and she was told to run between the buildings,” Grant said.

Urie said the University later dropped her complaint completely from the process, even after the dean of the Divinity School approved the Divinity School sexual harassment committee’s report, which said Bond had inappropriate relationships with students in the past.

“The Committee concluded that Dr. Bond had engaged in abusive relationships with students and should not continue to be part of the YDS community,” Urie said.

Urie has still received no word from the University on whether it plans to implement the committee’s recommendations, she said.

“Instead, they sanctioned communication from him to myself this fall that effected threats and retaliation from him that Yale failed to respond to, per policy,” Urie said.

Urie said her impetus for making the case public is to force Yale to reform its process for dealing with sexual harassment.

“I hope that no other student who seeks this avenue of accountability experiences the array of problems and vulnerabilities I did — My hope is that students will enjoy a more secure environment for their world-class education,” Urie said.

Harold Attridge, dean of the Divinity School, declined to comment on the case.

Urie’s case follows another lawsuit filed by Kathryn Kelly DIV ’01 against the University for its handling of her complaint that a fellow Divinity School student sexually abused her in October 1999, the Hartford Courant reported Wednesday. The case was settled last fall.

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