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3 Dartmouth Professors In Criminal Inquiry Over 'Sexual Misconduct' Allegations

Allegations of sexual misconduct against three Dartmouth College professors have resulted in a multi-agency criminal investigation, says New Hampshire Attorney General Gordon MacDonald.

All of the professors — Todd Heatherton, Bill Kelley and Paul Whalen — work in Dartmouth's psychological and brain sciences department. They've been put on paid leave and their access to campus is restricted, according to New Hampshire Public Radio.

"At this time, we have no basis to conclude that there is a threat to the general public," the attorney general said in a statement Tuesday, without providing details about the alleged crimes.

Initial reports of the allegations emerged last week, after The Dartmouth, the college's student newspaper, asked school officials about the case. At the time, the college said the three were on leave "pending the conclusions of ongoing investigations into allegations of serious misconduct."

After MacDonald's office contacted Dartmouth, he says, "we have learned from the College that it has received allegations of sexual misconduct."

According to NHPR, Dartmouth President Philip Hanlon said the school was conducting its own internal investigations.

Posting a message to the college's community, Dartmouth President Phil Hanlon said the school is cooperating with law enforcement even as it caries out its own investigation into the allegations.

"I want to say in the most emphatic way possible that sexual misconduct and harassment are unacceptable and have no place at Dartmouth," Hanlon said.

A multi-agency investigation into the case is now under way, which MacDonald says includes both his office and the Office of the Grafton County Attorney, along with the New Hampshire State Police, the Grafton County Sheriff's Department and the Hanover Police Department.

"Because this is now a criminal investigation, we are constrained in providing further details at this time," said the attorney general, who is a 1983 graduate of Dartmouth.

MacDonald's press release about the case included contact information for investigators on the case, along with lists of services for anyone affected by sexual violence.

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Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.