The alleged victims of a former University of Illinois associate professor turned to email to finally serve him with their federal lawsuit accusing him of sexually and emotionally exploiting them.
The civil lawsuit filed by some of Gary Xu’s former students had been held up by their inability to deliver the lawsuit to him, despite multiple attempts to do so since it was filed in September. Earlier this month, they were granted an extension to serve the complaint and had sought to serve it by email.
Xu's attorney, James A. Martinkus, wrote in a motion filed Tuesday that Xu was served via email on Dec. 10 with a summons and a copy of the 87-page suit, the News-Gazette reported.
Martinkus said in another court filing that Xu is traveling in China and won’t return to the U.S. until next week.
The suit accuses Xu, who had been an associate professor on Asian cultures at the University of Illinois, of sexually and emotionally exploiting his Chinese students, who depended on him for their visas.
Their complaint seeks damages and unpaid wages on 10 allegations, including emotional distress, gender violence, involuntary servitude, forced labor and sex trafficking.
Xu was head of Illinois' East Asian Languages and Cultures department from 2012 to 2015. University officials placed Xu on paid administrative leave in January 2016 in response to allegations of physical and verbal abuse made by a former student. He resigned in August 2018.