Northwestern University professor accused of misconduct by former students, employees

EVANSTON, Ill. (WLS) -- A professor at Northwestern University is being accused of misconduct by former students and employees of the school. He is denying the allegations.

The allegations came in an open letter addressed to school administrators, signed by 10 women who said they were students of or worked for journalism professor Alec Klein, the head of Northwestern's Medill Justice Project. Klein has been recognized nationally for his work with the project, which has helped exonerate wrongfully-convicted inmates

The women in the letter allege harassment or bullying, and some of the allegations are sexual in nature.

The letter accuses Klein of attempting " kiss a prospective employee, prior to hiring her..." It says he "commented on employees' physical attractiveness," performed "unwanted neck massages" on women who were trying to work, and "talked about his sex life and pressed for explicit details about others'."

In a statement, Klein said, "I categorically deny the allegations and intend to take legal action. Many of the allegations involved a disgruntled former employee who had been on a corrective-action plan for poor work performance several years ago."

Northwestern University released a separate statement, saying, "The University takes seriously all complaints that are brought to its attention. Many of the allegations were contained in a complaint brought several years ago by a former employee. At that time, the University conducted a thorough investigation and the complaint was not substantiated. Northwestern will now review the allegations received today."

ABC7 Eyewitness News attempted to reach the women who signed the open letter, but we were told they declined our request for an interview.
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