Former professor suing CSU, claiming sexual harassment and retaliation for reporting harassment

Time's Up Legal Defense Fund looking at case
Posted at 3:22 PM, May 25, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-25 21:21:35-04

DENVER -- A former Colorado State University professor claims she was sexually harassed for years and the university not only did nothing to stop it, but retaliated against her for reporting it.

The case is being investigated by the Colorado Attorney General’s Office.

Dr. Christina Boucher says the harassment started in 2012.

Her case stalled out last year, but has now been picked up by the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund, a fund launched by several Hollywood A-listers after this year’s Oscars ceremony.

For Boucher, the pain still runs deep.

"I felt very powerless,” Boucher said.

She says it started with the harassment; then came the shame of not being taken seriously. "Which made me more vulnerable and more powerless," she said.

Boucher was an up-and-coming computer science professor at Colorado State University.

"I was a tenure-track faculty member there," Boucher said.

That tenure track was then derailed. Boucher claims a male professor started sexually harassing her in 2012 — staring at her breasts and making other unwelcome advances.

"Prior to this, I lived a completely average and normal life. I have two kids. I'm married," Boucher said.

Boucher filed a complaint with CSU, which she thought would end the harassment. But her lawsuit alleges things went from bad to worse.

Instead of taking her claim seriously, she says the university retaliated — giving her poor evaluations. The administration dismissed her claim and said in a statement to Denver7 that no action was taken against the accused because "none is warranted."

"Everything sort of collapsed,” Boucher said. “My life was torn apart because of retaliation."

Her case stalled out. Her once thriving career seemed to be over, so she moved her family to Florida.

Then came the #MeToo movement.

"They were describing exactly what I was experiencing," Boucher said.

And shortly after this year's Oscars, the Time's Up Fund was launched. The fund caught wind of Boucher's case and picked it up.

"Justice,” said Boucher. “I think that CSU and the AG need to be responsible. They need to be held accountable.”

In the same statement to Denver7, the university said, “While CSU takes allegations of sexual harassment seriously, CSU strongly disputes Dr. Boucher’s claims and is actively defending against them."

Boucher believes her case has renewed momentum.

"I realize if this could happen to me this could happen to anyone," Boucher said. Time’s Up could pay up to $100,000 of Boucher's legal fees.

Time’s Up was established to help women with legal fees in workplace sexual harassment cases. In just six months, the fund has raised $21 million.