Law prof placed on leave after he's charged with assaulting woman at New York casino
The Syracuse University College of Law in 2008. Photo by Crazyale, PD-self, via Wikimedia Commons.
A Syracuse University law and engineering professor has been placed on leave after he was charged with assaulting a woman in the elevator and parking lot of a casino in New York.
The professor, Terry Turnipseed, was charged with menacing, assault and criminal obstruction of breathing in connection with the Feb. 17 incident at the Turning Stone Resort Casino, report Law.com, Syracuse.com and WKTV.
All the charges are in the third degree, and they are misdemeanors, according to Turnipseed’s lawyer, Charles A. Keller III, who spoke with Law.com. He expects the charges to be dropped.
Turnipseed has taught at Syracuse University since July 2004. At the Syracuse University College of Law, he taught estate planning, estate and gift taxation, wills and trusts, and property, according to a bio at the law firm where he had been of counsel, Law.com reports.
Turnipseed is no longer listed as a lawyer at the firm, Tarlow, Breed, Hart & Rodgers in Boston. An online press release from July 2022 said he joined the firm as of counsel in 2022, working in the estate planning and taxation departments. An online resumé is here.
A spokesperson for the firm did not immediately respond to the ABA Journal’s email and voicemail requesting comment.
Arraignment documents allege that Turnipseed was caught on video grabbing a woman by the throat in the elevator of the TS Steakhouse at the casino, according to reporting by Syracuse.com. The documents also allege that Turnipseed grabbed the woman’s hair and pulled her out of a car in the garage.
Turnipseed was charged based on the video, even though the woman said she didn’t want to press charges. Joel Barkin, the vice president for communications for the Oneida Indian Nation, described the incident as a domestic dispute in an interview with Syracuse.com.
Keller told Syracuse.com and Law.com that he has reviewed the evidence, and that media accounts of the incident are exaggerations.
“Based upon my investigation, at minimum it’s exaggerated and worse, it is wholly unsupported by the facts which include [me] speaking to the woman involved,” Keller told Syracuse.com. “The facts of the case will eventually come out, and we want professor Turnipseed to be given a fair shot.”
Syracuse sent two emails to law students about the incident, according to Law.com. The first, sent Feb. 24, said Turnipseed was on leave for personal reasons and would not be teaching for the rest of the semester. The second, sent March 4, was more detailed.
Syracuse.com published the second email, written by Craig M. Boise, dean of the law school.
It reads: “By now, you are likely aware that college of law professor Terry Turnipseed is facing very troubling allegations. The university and the college of law were first made aware of these allegations on Feb. 22, 2023. That same day, he was placed on administrative leave, which precludes him from being on campus. To be clear: Syracuse University and the college of law vehemently condemn sexual and relationship violence and will not tolerate it on our campus or within our community. This matter is now in the hands of law enforcement and has also been referred to the university’s formal disciplinary and employment process.”