Columbia College Professor to ‘Step Away' From Teaching Amid Sexual Assault Probe

Allegations involving the professor go back as far as 2008, Cara Dehnert told NBC 5

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A professor at Chicago's Columbia College will "step away" from his classes amid an investigation into allegations of sexual assault, according to school leadership.

Cara Dehnert, a former Columbia College professor, said a relationship with a male colleague quickly spiraled and that she was the victim of rape and manipulation.

"There were promises he made, things he could help me, starting with my career moving forward, looking back I feel I’d been backed into a corner," Dehnert said.

NBC 5 has decided not to name the professor as formal charges haven't been filed.

Dehnert says the acts in question began in 2017 and she reported the allegations to Columbia College in February 2020.

Dehnert, who now teaches at the University of Central Oklahoma, penned her experience in an online article recently, and realized she isn't alone.

Allegations involving the professor go back as far as 2008, she told NBC 5.

Dehnert is now hopeful sharing her story will spark change.

"When HR asked me what I wanted to see out of it, my goal then and my goal now is to make sure this doesn’t happen again," she said.

After Dehnert published the article regarding her experience, Columbia College announced it was opening a new investigation into the allegations.

"...Because of questions raised in Professor Dehnert’s post, the college also is reviewing its prior handling of the matter," a statement read, in part. "The college and professor have agreed he will step away from his classes pending the outcome of the investigation.”

Columbia College asks any individuals who feel victimized to come forward. If the college finds evidence a crime was committed, information on the case will be passed along to Chicago police.

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