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Microbiome researcher accused of sexual misconduct

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Science  21 Feb 2020:
Vol. 367, Issue 6480, pp. 837-838
DOI: 10.1126/science.367.6480.837

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Summary

A researcher famed for his work on the microbiomes of hunter-gatherers has been accused by several American women of sexual assault, according to court documents. Jeff Leach, a resident of Terlingua, Texas, co-founded a major open-source, crowdfunded project on the microbiome and is the co-author of multiple papers on gut microbes, including one published in Science. But in the publicity resulting from the accusations, other questions have emerged—about Leach's academic qualifications and his behavior in the field. Leach and his lawyer, Rae Leifeste, told Science that all the charges are unfounded and were motivated by personal and professional jealousy and disagreements over money. Leach sued one accuser for defamation, but as part of that case further allegations have emerged, including sexual assault and past legal problems.

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