College News

Survivors of alleged sexual assault feared repercussions from UW-Milwaukee professor

Accusers of UW-Milwaukee professor say that they feared they would not earn their degrees if they spoke up against sexual assault. 

Image By: Cameron Lane-Flehinger

The UW-Milwaukee professor who was charged for sexual assault last week emphasized his role in the student’s success at the university prior to assaulting her, according to a criminal complaint. 

Another student said the College of Health Sciences professor, Anthony Azenabor, increased levels of physical contact prior to sexual assault. She feared exposing him would impact her work in her graduate program. 

After the student was accepted into her Ph.D. program by Azenabor, they began to meet consistently for her research in September 2017, she told the UW-Milwaukee police. 

He began making sexual comments, initially claiming they were “research-related,” when they would meet in Azenabor’s office or his academic laboratory. The comments led to inappropriate touching and hugs, groping and eventually forced intercourse by May 2018.   

The professor grabbed the survivor, “forced her onto his lap and began to rub and touch her inappropriately,” the crime report said. She also spoke of another time when he pushed her onto a bench and raped her. 

Another student disclosed a “substantially similar conduct” to UW-Milwaukee police, saying he implanted mistrust and anxiety of other faculty members. 

She said she did not immediately report the misconduct for fear she would not obtain her graduate degree, according to the complaint. 

Azenabor was charged with two counts of second-degree sexual assault, use of force and one count of fourth-degree sexual assault in offenses that occurred in March, April and May of 2018, as stated in circuit court records. 

He pleaded not guilty to the fourth-degree charge and was held in custody Monday with bail set at $7,500, as stated in the court records. The records did not include pleas for the second-degree counts. 

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