A hidden history

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Science  04 May 2018:
Vol. 360, Issue 6388, pp. 480-485
DOI: 10.1126/science.360.6388.480

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Inder Verma, the prominent cancer biologist and geneticist who has influenced U.S. research for decades, has sexually harassed women for just as long, according to accounts from eight women. The Salk Institute for Biological Studies in San Diego, California, where Verma has worked since 1974, suspended him on 20 April and expanded an existing investigation of allegations against him, 2 days after receiving questions from Science about some of the women's accounts. The women include a lab technician, a postdoctoral fellow, Salk staffers and professors, and a potential faculty recruit. They allege, variously, that Verma forcibly kissed them, grabbed their breasts, pinched their buttocks, propositioned them, and made sexual comments about them in professional settings. The alleged incidents stretch from 1976 to 2016. Verma denied the allegations in a statement, which said, in part: "I have never inappropriately touched, nor have I made any sexually charged comments, to anyone affiliated with the Salk Institute."

  • This story was supported by the Science Fund for Investigative Reporting.

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