Law Professors

Sexual harassment accusers are 'scorned former lovers,' onetime law prof's suit says

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shutterstock_George Mason University

A former law and economics professor at George Mason University has filed a $108 million defamation lawsuit against two women. Photo from Shutterstock.

A George Mason University law professor who resigned in August following sexual harassment allegations says in a lawsuit two of his accusers are “scorned former lovers.”

Former law and economics professor Joshua D. Wright filed a $108 million defamation suit against the two women Aug. 24, report, Above the Law and Law360.

Wright is also a former commissioner with the Federal Trade Commission.

One defendant is Kirkland & Ellis partner Elyse Dorsey, and another is Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer counsel Angela Landry. Wright alleges that the two women “embarked on a vendetta to destroy his reputation, portray themselves as #MeToo victims, and make a fortune in the process.”

Wright says the women “targeted his employers and his clients, and threated further reputational damage if he did not pay them several million dollars. When he refused, they went to the press.”

Both women were incensed when Wright ended his relationships with them, his suit alleges.

The allegations against Wright surfaced in an Aug. 14 Law360 article. The two women said they were first-year law students when they met Wright, who abused his power to initiate sexual relationships.

Dorsey told Law360 that she though that she had no choice when Wright initiated a sexual relationship after she became his research assistant. The relationship continued on an off-and-on basis until 2021. That same year, Dorsey filed a Title IX complaint against Wright.

Landry told Law360 that her sexual relationship with Wright began her 1L year and continued throughout law school. It began again when Wright asked Landry to work as an attorney adviser to him at the FTC.

Both women said Wright’s professional support ended after the breakups.

Landry and Dorsey said they agreed to come forward after Christa Laser, a professor at the Cleveland State University College of Law, said in a social media post Wright asked her out on a date after she met with him to discuss joining the George Mason University faculty. Laser said she reported the incident to the law school.

Landry and Dorsey released this statement to Law360: “We know what we experienced. This lawsuit shows the lengths to which Wright will go to keep us from telling the truth. Survivors should not face a [$100 million] lawsuit for coming forward about what they experienced as students.”

Wright issued this statement to Law360: “Every relationship I have ever been in was 100% mutual and consensual, some in question spanning several years and one even more than decade.

“I am fully accountable for the decisions I made as an unfaithful husband. I have learned from these mistakes and will always feel remorse for my ex-wife and my family, as I hurt those I care for and love,” the statement said. “As an attorney, public servant and academic, I have never let any relationship impair my professional duties. While I make no excuses for my personal shortcomings, I stand by my character and career, will always fight for the truth, and will vehemently defend myself against baseless lies spun as a scheme for personal financial gain and notoriety.”

The university said in a statement to it can’t comment on employment matters.

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