Marisa Peryer

A former neighbor of Eugene Redmond — a retired Yale School of Medicine professor who allegedly sexually harassed several students — filed a suit on Tuesday alleging that Redmond sexually assaulted him when he was 12 years old.

The complaint — filed by Kenneth Ballard on Oct. 28 in the Connecticut Superior Court in New Haven — is the first allegation against Redmond to reach court. Ballard has no ties to Yale, but his father graduated from Yale College and held a job at the University at the time of the alleged misconduct.

On Aug. 20, Yale released a report from University-commissioned independent investigator and former U.S. Attorney Deirdre M. Daly, which stated that Redmond sexually assaulted five students affiliated with his University research. According to the report, the professor engaged in sexual misconduct toward at least eight undergraduates or recent graduates, as well as one high school student over a period of 25 years. While the University found Redmond responsible for sexual misconduct in May 2018, the professor retired in July of the same year pending disciplinary sanctions. Ballard’s allegation is not one made in the Yale report.

“I understand from the report that Yale first had an inkling [that Redmond was responsible for sexual assault] in [19]94. And that made me really disappointed and made me really upset,” Ballard said in an interview with the News on Monday. “There [were] clearly other people like me, that had been impacted by Gene and damaged by Gene and what he has done to them. And I know that at that point in time, if the [report came out], then I would have felt just like I do now. And that is that I need to tell my story. And I need to give a voice to this.”

According to the complaint, Redmond lived in Hamden in the house next to Ballard’s home between 1976 and 1977. At the time, Ballard’s father was president of the Yale Co-Op, and Redmond was a physician and researcher at the Yale School of Medicine, the complaint said. The family frequently attended chamber music concerts and parties at Redmond’s home, but the complaint said Redmond specifically “took an interest in” Ballard. Tuesday’s complaint detailed situations that echo previous allegations students have levied against Redmond, such as grooming behavior and one-on-one bedroom arrangements.

Redmond’s lawyers could not be reached for comment on Thursday night. Redmond has denied all allegations of misconduct against him in previous reports.

According to the complaint, in the winter of 1976-77, Redmond invited Ballard on an overnight ski trip to Sugarbush, Vermont, where they shared a room with two beds. Ballard fell asleep alone in his bed, but he woke up in the middle of the night to find Redmond performing oral sex on him, the complaint said. The suit added that Ballard felt “powerless to do anything” because “the adult who was sucking his penis was a renowned Yale doctor and a friend of his parents,” so Ballard pretended like he was asleep. After “what seemed like an eternity,” the complaint stated, Redmond stopped performing oral sex and went back to bed. Ballard did not discuss what had occurred with Redmond the next morning.

In the Aug. 20 report detailing findings from the independent investigation, Daly said she deemed 13 students’ accounts to be “highly credible.” She cited parallel descriptions that occurred over two decades and the fact that the students did not know one another. Daly also noted that in all five cases of sexual assault, the students shared a bedroom with Redmond at his St. Kitts research facility at his behest.

While the complaint claims that Redmond “continued to rape and sexually exploit” Ballard, the complaint seeks damages in connection with only the single alleged sexual assault in Vermont.

In June, Vermont lifted the statute of limitations for certain types of sexual abuse. While the state previously restricted the time frame in which a person could report such misconduct, the recent decision gave grounds for Ballard’s lawsuit. According to the complaint, the alleged Vermont incident “constituted lewd and lascivious conduct, sexual assault and aggravated sexual assault” pursuant to Vermont’s law that was in effect at that time.

“As a direct and proximate result of the sexual assault, the Plaintiff has experienced great and substantial psychological harm,” the complaint stated.

Connecticut state law still dictates that anyone older than 48 is prohibited from filing a civil lawsuit alleging they were abused as minors. Ballard is 55. This Connecticut legislation exists despite legislative efforts, which began last year, seeking to reopen cases of child abuse after the statute of limitations has passed.

Twenty-three states — in addition to the District of Columbia — passed bills reforming the statute of limitations for child sex abuse in 2019.

 

Alayna Lee | alayna.lee@yale.edu

Audrey Steinkamp | audrey.steinkamp@yale.edu