Adrian College secretly fires professor who admitted to molesting teens
For immediate release Tuesday, January 30, 2018
Statement by Claudia Vercellotti, SNAP Toledo Leader, ClaudiaYV@gmail.com, 419-345-9291
Did it take 150 gymnasts at the university down the road to compel Adrian College to do the right thing and fire Thomas Hodgman?
And why did Docking sneak Hodgman off campus quietly? Why not make a public announcement? Why spare the reputation of a man who admitted to raping teens and leave it to his victim to learn the truth through rumor?
Why the cover-up of Hodgman’s firing? Are there other victims? Are there Tittle IX complaints? Has there been a years-long cover-up? Have students who complained of assault been silenced and harassed like Casteix and we were when we tried to shed light on the story?
Is this a cover-up of Penn State and MSU scope and scale?
Any reasonable organization would see that continually defending a professor who admitted raping high school students is bad policy. Any organization in charge of educating young people would see that Hodgman's later public denials and excuses are the red flag behaviors of a potential predator. Any organization with a sense of compassion and a mission to train future educators would see that their continued treatment of Thomas Hodgman’s alleged victim is cruel, inhumane, and tells other victims of sexual assault on their campus that they will not be believed.
We do not know what finally forced Jeffrey Docking’s hand. We don’t know if it was money. We don't know if it was external or internal pressure. We don’t know if it was embarrassment at being turned away from Carnegie Hall. But we do know that if it weren’t for the tenacity of Joelle Casteix, one of Hodgman’s alleged victims, Jeffrey Docking would have done nothing. Why was it up to her to give him a moral compass? Why did he and his predecessor shun and revictimize her for so many years?
Jeffrey Docking knows that he has done the wrong thing every step of the way.
Perhaps Adrian College’s Board of Trustees should consider the same fate for him as that of MSU’s Lou Anna Simon.
We call on Adrian’s Board of Trustees to immediately investigate why Hodgman was allowed to leave the school quietly. We also call on them to demand full accountability from Jeffrey Docking for the decade-long cover-up of Hodgman’s behavior and his actions against Joelle Casteix, including besmirching her character. He—and the Adrian College Board of Trustees—owe her a full apology.
Finally, Thomas Hodgman must never work with children, youth, or vulnerable populations again. Period. While he will never be punished for what he allegedly did to Joelle and the other victim we know about, we can ensure that the publicity of this case will follow him and that communities will be safe from the potential threat he poses.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 25,000 members. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)