Dartmouth professors accused of sexual misconduct once conducted a study about sex with 58 female freshmen

    The New Hampshire attorney general is investigating allegations of sexual misconduct by three tenured Dartmouth professors. The professors conducted a 2012 study about sex and the brain with 58 female freshmen. Details of the alleged misconduct have not been released.

Three tenured Dartmouth College professors, whose research included studies about sex and attractiveness, have been placed on paid leave as a criminal investigation into alleged sexual misconduct takes place, The New York Times reported.

Five law enforcement agencies, including the New Hampshire attorney general, are investigating allegations of “serious misconduct” by Todd Heatherton, Bill Kelley, and Paul Whalen, all professors in the department of psychological and brain sciences.

Heatherton and Kelley authored a 2012 study on how images of food and sex affect the brain, and Whalen assisted in the study, The Times reported. For the study, 58 female college freshmen had brain scans while viewing images, including sexual scenes. After six months they went back to the lab, were weighed and questioned on their sexual behavior, according to The Times.

Whalen also published research papers with collaboration from Kelley and Heatherton on how the brain responds to the attractiveness of members of the opposite sex.

Details of the alleged misconduct have not been released. Still, Dartmouth students and alumni appear shaken by the investigation.

“It’s concerning, definitely, for my friends and everyone I know, especially my female friends,” Dartmouth freshman Zachary Bilcheck told CBS.

Dartmouth graduate student Carly Bobak was surprised to learn of the investigation. “Dartmouth is known for being very focused on gender equality. So to have something like this happen strikes me as unusual and surprising,” she told CBS.