KU Leuven professor sentenced to 54 months in prison for raping student

A Belgian court has ordered the immediate arrest of a former professor at KU Leuven university for the rape of a student during a trip to Barcelona in 2016. The Belgian professor was sentenced to 54 months in prison.

The man from Bilzen was sentenced to 54 months in prison and expelled from his rights for the next five years by the Tongeren correctional court. In addition, he has to pay €27,000 in damages plus court costs and interest to the severely traumatised victim. The professor's immediate arrest was ordered.

"He shockingly and perversely abused his acquired insights into the human psyche to persuade the victim"

The professor was the student's teacher and supervisor at the Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences at KU Leuven in 2016. During her final year, he communicated with his student in a completely inappropriate manner, according to the judges.

In July 2016, he proposed that the student accompany him to a CIDUI Congress in Barcelona where he would lecture. When the student and her professor arrived in Barcelona, it turned out that he had booked an Airbnb with only one bedroom. In the end, the professor offered to sleep on a sofa bed in another room.

During her stay in Barcelona, the student was alternately glorified and pressured. During interrogations, the victim described her professor as "someone with changing moods."

During the second night of their stay, the student suddenly woke up to find her professor half-naked in her bed. The following day, he tried to inebriate her, assaulted and raped her.

In the following years, the student was admitted to psychiatric institutions several times and undertook several suicide attempts. She eventually filed an extensive complaint against her former professor and KU Leuven initiated proceedings.

In the extensive judgment, the three judges describe the professor as a "sexual predator." "In addition, being a professor of psychology, he shockingly and perversely abused his acquired insights into the human psyche to persuade the victim, in a manipulative game of attraction and repulsion and of praise and denigration, to accompany him on this trip, knowing that she aspired to a career within academia and that she was willing to make many sacrifices and intense efforts to do so."



Students studying in the KU Leuven university library © BELGA PHOTO ERIC LALMAND

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