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Records show multiple complaints of alleged sexual misconduct by CCSU professor

A Central Connecticut State University professor is off the job for now, after multiple complaints of sexual harassme...

Posted: Jun 14, 2018 1:30 PM
Updated: Jun 14, 2018 1:30 PM

A Central Connecticut State University professor is off the job for now, after multiple complaints of sexual harassment and other misconduct.

Channel 3 looked has those complaints and what was found has the university's president saying she would have handled it differently if she was in charge then.

Channel 3 requested to see all the complaints involving Professor Joshua Perlstein.

There are 168 pages of complaints, dating back more than a decade with at least five separate people coming forward.

In at least one case, the university says Perlstein violated their sexual harassment policy, but still got away with a warning.

"It really did have a devastating effect on me," said Anna Brewer-Kelly, a former CCSU student.

Back in April, Channel 3 spoke to Brewer-Kelly.

She was one of the first whistleblowers to call attention to the alleged sexual harassment of CCSU theatre professor Joshua Perlstein.

"He kissed me on the cheek and I pulled away and said, 'I really have to get going,' he reached over to give me a big hug goodbye and grabbed by butt," said Brewer-Kelly.

Through a Freedom of Information request, Channel 3 obtained multiple complaints against Perlstein and learned he's been accused of a variety of misconduct.

The complaints were lodged from students and faculty.

In 2007, a month into her job as an assistant professor, one woman claims Perlstein told her of a sexual dream he had about her.

Another faculty member wrote Perlstein would add "dark and twisted" scenes to productions that didn't call for them. She writes it's the, "3rd time he added a rape scene (to a production) that doesn't have rape scenes."

In addition to Brewer-Kelly, several former students have come forward documenting alleged unwanted advances Perlstein made toward them and others, writing, "…he attempted to kiss my lips. I pulled back suddenly…he quietly laughed and leaned even further towards me and quietly said into my ear, 'don't pull away from me when I try to kiss you.'"

CCSU investigated and did determine in at least one case, what Perlstein was accused of violating the university's "zero tolerance" sexual harassment policy.

Their solution was, "it is recommended that Professor Perlstein have no further personal contact with the complainant."

"I thought I did everything right by reporting it and I was waiting for the good guys to come in and save me and that didn't happen," said Brewer-Kelly.

On Tuesday, the university shifted dramatically from those earlier statements.

President Dr. Zulma Toro writes, "it remains clear to me that we need to fix communication breakdowns and hold people accountable for their actions and others for their apparent lack of responsiveness."

Toro went on to say that the collective bargaining agreement prohibits her from taking certain actions right now and that's why Perlstein is still on administrative leave.

Channel 3 tried to obtain Perlstein's personnel file, which would have included any discipline. We were told that was protected by Connecticut law and we would have to go to court to get it unsealed.

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