CofC president addresses professor misconduct allegations

Graf discussing the International Piano Series. (Source: Vimeo)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- Hours before The Post and Courier released a story delving into sexual misconduct allegations of a College of Charleston professor, the school responded.

In the letter addressed to the entire campus, President P. George Benson said he had been monitoring the allegations against former Department of Music faculty member Enrique Graf since December 2012, when they were brought to his attention.

According to a list of facts about the case, Benson said the College received a formal complaint against Graf in January of this year. At the time, he was a tenured professor.

"Upon receipt of this complaint, and considering the serious nature of the allegations, the College immediately assigned Mr. Graf to{}administrative duties pending the outcome of an investigation conducted by an external investigator.{} From that time forward, Mr. Graf was not permitted to teach or otherwise work with students at the College of Charleston," Benson wrote.

After that, the Provost found that Graf had violated several of CofC's policies, including those on discrimination, harassment, and abuse.

As an appeal hearing was set to begin, Benson writes, Graf withdrew his appeal, resigned as an instructor.{}

"I acknowledged Mr. Graf's resignation on June 4, 2013," Benson said in the campus-wide letter.

He goes on to say the findings of the school's investigation were "disturbing."

According to the Post and Courier article, a timeline traces complaints against Graf to 1994 with a complaint to both the school and the Department of Education. That complaint was later withdrawn.

The paper reports that after receiving the letter this year, they investigated for three months and handed the case over to the school's Department of Public Safety, who involved the State Law Enforcement Division.

In the investigative documents, two victims are named -- a current student and a former student from Maryland.

The current student alleges that Graf made repeated unwanted sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, unwanted physical contact and verbally sexually abused him. The student goes on to claim the behavior started shortly after he entered College of Charleston as a freshman and has continued since then.{}

The student accused Graf of asking about the size of his penis and invited the student to his house to drink alcohol and smoke marijuana.

The allegations of impropriety continue during a trip to Paris in which the student says Graf booked a room for the pair with just one bed, played pornographic movies all night and tried to molest the student as he slept.

According to the documents, Graf pestered the student into performing a sex act during a trip to Carnegie Mellon University, another school where Graf teaches.

As the student prepared to apply to graduate schools, Graf offered him an assistantship, a CD recording and a recital in a large music hall in Uruguay if he stayed, the investigation revealed.

The former student also making allegations against Graf said the abuse began in a Baltimore prep school at the age of 16 with a forced kiss during a ride home after a concert.

The Maryland student said Graf would often coerce the teen into providing or receiving massages which usually ended with Graf masturbating in front of him. Many times, the student told investigators, Graf leveraged sex acts with the promise of a musical career.

In a 2006 incident cited in a letter from the alleged victim's ex-wife, Graf coerced the music student into drug and alcohol abuse as early as 15 years old. By the time the student was 18, Graf had him using cocaine, the letter alleged.

Graf denied the allegations, saying neither student appeared afraid or uncomfortable around him. Graf also said any touching he did of students was to correct their posture, the documents state.

Graf speculated that the allegations could have been invented to extort money from him, according to the investigation.

When the College's investigation turned to Graf's current students, they found one student who said Graf made comments that made him feel uncomfortable.

The student also said there were rumors about the incident in Paris, the investigation found.

One of the students' former roommates said he brought up Graf's advances once, but quickly dropped it, saying Graf had asked for oral sex. At a later date, the victim went into detail with his roommate, the report states.

The school also talked to several of Graf's former students at the College and at Carnegie Mellon -- none of whom said they had any problems with Graf.

Members of the College's faculty and staff did not report any problems with Graf, either directed toward them or towards others in their presence, the report states. The same follows for members of the Charleston Academy of Music, where Graf has worked for more than 20 years, and people who live in the same building as Graf.

Police have not filed any charges against Graf.