A 31-year-old woman is suing the University of Maryland Baltimore, and its medical school. She is alleging that officials they have failed to take action to stop persisting sexual harassment. For three years a vascular surgeon and associate professor made unwanted advances toward the woman. Her complaints were dismissed by her supervisors and completely disregarded by the school’s investigative team. Three other women have also claimed the same thing about the doctor’s behavior.
Carly Goldstein, a 31 years old former research coordinator is suing the University of Maryland, Baltimore and its school of Medicine after stating that college officials ignore her pleas for help to stop Dr. Robert Crawford and a professor from sexually harassing her.
For three years since 2014, Goldstein has received debaucherous messages through text, hinting sexual innuendos and degrading messages.
“You are smoking hot in the way that I enjoy,” a text said on July of 2015. “I would give a pinky to have you for 24 hours.”
After presenting those text and other evidence pointing to the aggressive approach of Crawford, officials did the unthinkable and disregarded the whole case itself. Angered, Goldstein felt it was time to take legal matters to settle this.
“I’m proceeding with this and coming forward because I truly hope at some point it will enact change, that they will address sexism,” she said in an interview with The Sun. She wanted to “address the environment that allowed a predator to thrive.” Whether this was done to address what allowed the buildup of the harassment or just the general gist of the male dominant culture of departments, it nonetheless sheds light in a matter that transcends into a bigger message about patriarchy.
Indeed, the exposure of this case has led to the discovery of three women who claimed to have experienced the same unwanted harassment from Crawford. They all noted the lack of disciplinary actions done by officials to stop this predatory behavior. In addition, they described an unhealthy atmosphere where sexual and inappropriate comments were accepted as a norm in the vascular surgery department. Among the three women were two surgeons who said their departure with the department has everything to do with the derogative nature of the office and the constant harassment from male colleagues.
The chief of vascular surgery, Dr. Rajabrata Sarkar, was aware of these despicable actions. In 2014, Dr. Sarkar was notified that Crawford harassed a female sales representative by “demanding that a female product sales representative spend time alone with him in order for him to consider the products she was selling,” according to The Sun. It was not mentioned why he did nothing to ameliorate this.
Despite the voices of the victims involved in this case, University official claimed they addressed the complaints, specifically Goldstein’s.
“The University of Maryland, Baltimore takes allegations of harassment and mistreatment very, very seriously,” Alex Likowski, UMB’s executive director of media relations, said in a statement. “As soon as this matter was brought to our attention we investigated immediately and promptly took reasonable steps to address the complaints. However, since this is a pending legal and personnel matter, I can’t address the specific allegations, the results of our investigation or any actions taken by the university at this time.” Likowski was speaking for UMB, which includes the medical school.
With this statement, university officials saw their unstated actions as proper and are asking for the lawsuit to be dismissed.
Brian Frosh, an attorney general on behalf of the university, wrote in his response to undermine Goldstein’s position in the school. He states that she was never technically an employee of the university or on its payroll. Instead, Goldstein worked for a foundation located in the Baltimore VA Medical Center alongside doctors who were also part-time faculty members at the university, his response states.
In The Sun’s attempt to reach Crawford for comments, Crawford declined to comment through his lawyer.
What Exactly Did Dr. Crawford Do To Carly Goldstein?
Goldstein states that Crawford’s aggressive approach began in April of 2014 when she was a research coordinator. He has stated that he had difficulties in concentrating on his work due to the body shape of Goldstein being a focal distraction to him. She has voiced her disinterest in a romantic relationship with him, but the alleged harassment only intensified from there.
Goldstein recalls an incident where she needed to ask Crawford to sign off on documents and he would only satisfy her request if only she agrees to go to a bar with him. She alleges that Crawford twice touched her non-consensually, once in November 2015 and once in July 2016. Looking back now, she reprimands herself for compromising with her fear of not getting the letter of recommendation she needed to go to grad school. For her future, she was willing to endure the sufferings and try to put up with it. However, her negligence and fear only led to the escalation of abuse.
In November 2015 at the Brewer’s Art Bar and Resturant, “Crawford reached his arm around Goldstein, touched her legs and thigh and commenced kissing her against her will.” Goldstein’s suit says she repeatedly told him to stop and began sobbing. A worker came over to asses the situation but she was already running out of the restaurant.
A few days later, Goldstein was notified by another surgeon, Dr. Shahab Toursavadkohi, that Crawford has tried to get her fired. Distraught, she and the doctor both recognize Crawford’s action as a sign of retaliation.
In February and March of 2017, Goldstein finally decided to file discrimination charges with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and resigned from her position.