Two years after his resignation following sexual misconduct claims, James Peterson, former director of Africana studies and professor of English at Lehigh, was hired as an adjunct professor at Millersville University during the fall 2019 semester.
Peterson is currently the subject of a lawsuit filed by Monica Miller, an associate professor of religion and Africana studies, against Lehigh. She alleged that she was continuously sexually harassed by Peterson for years after she was hired in 2013, and the university failed to act on her complaints and proceeded to retaliate against her.
Janet Kacskos, director of communications at Millersville, said in an email to The Brown and White that Peterson cleared all three background checks required by the university. This included a criminal background check, a child abuse history clearance and an FBI federal criminal history fingerpinting.
Peterson was never criminally charged for his alleged sexual misconduct. He resigned from Lehigh on Jan. 16, 2018, after being placed on paid leave in November 2017.
Millersville University is a public university of nearly 7,000 undergraduates and is located about 90 minutes away from Lehigh, just outside Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
Miller filed her civil case in federal court in March 2019 and is now being heard in court. Lehigh, which vowed to defend itself against Miller’s claims, filed for summary judgment this past November, and the two parties met for a hearing on Jan. 22. No decision on summary judgment has been made yet.
Miller remains employed by the university.
Kacskos said Peterson is no longer an employee of Millersville as of Dec. 15, 2019, after teaching one class and completing one semester as a “part-time temporary person.”
She said Millersville’s human resources department did not receive any complaints against him during his time at Millersville.