MIT scientist out of work after affair turns into sexual harassment

A renowned Massachusetts Institute of Technology biologist, who was axed after what he says had a consensual affair with a much younger colleague, said the escalating scandal forced him to pay unemployment benefits.

David Sabatini, 54, whose research included deciphering how tumors form, resigned from MIT last month and is living on a tenure after colleague Kristin Knouse claimed he “groomed” her and “pushed” her into a sexual relationship, so a report and a court papers.

A longtime friend and the dean of NYU Grossman School of Medicine tried to offer him a job, but after an uproar, the school announced on May 3 that it would not hire him, despite colleagues describing him as one of in a recent article had the greatest scientists in the world – a “genius” in search of the Nobel Prize.

“What wormhole took my life to… protest and be labeled a sexual predator?” What quirk in the universe made this possible?” said Sabatini, who has denied wrongdoing and stated that Knouse did not work in his lab or report to him.

In a lawsuit against MIT in October, Sabatini said his relationship with Knouse, who is 21 years his junior, was amicable — and told a reporter he was shocked he was the subject of protests at NYU when the school explored the possibility of hiring him.

Biologist David Sabatini
Sabatini is reportedly being turned down by other job offers.
Sylvain Gaboury/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

Sabatini has claimed he and Knouse began their affair during a conference in 2018 while he was in the midst of a divorce. By 2020, he thought the affair had cooled, though he claims Knouse wanted to move on. By October 2020, she complained about being harassed, and in a later lawsuit, Sabitini allegedly oversaw a “sexualized” environment in his lab.

He’s been desperate since leaving MIT, he said. He stopped eating and sleeping, lost 35 pounds in three months, “cried a lot and his hair fell out,” according to the article in Bari Weiss’ “Common Sense” SubStack column.

It’s not just Sabatini dealing with the aftermath.

After the Grossman School of Medicine announced it would not hire him, the National Institutes of Health decided to review $500 million in grants, which were overseen by the dean who first considered bringing him on board, reported Common Sense.

Dafna Bar-Sagi, vice dean of science and chief science officer at the medical school, called Sabatini “one of the greatest scientists of our century” and led an investigation into the allegations against him “at the risk of depriving society of the benefit of someone like him.” continues his career and makes truly meaningful discoveries that can impact human health for generations to come,” she told the outlet.

Assistant Professor of Biology;  Intramural Faculty, Koch Institute
Knouse said Sabatini “groomed” her and “forced” her into a relationship.
Gretchen Ertl/Whitehead Institute

The NIH said it received anonymous complaints about Bar-Sagi and recently sent a letter to NYU raising concerns about its ability to “provide a safe environment for trainees,” Common Sense reported.

“If there was anything unusual about this man’s behavior, we wouldn’t have touched him with a 10-foot pole,” NYU Langone Medical Center executive director Ken Langone told Common Sense, calling work to call vet Sabatini . exhaustive.”

Outside attorneys consulted by NYU, who reviewed a report on MIT’s allegations, found that Sabatini had not received due process, the university’s Common Sense shared.

Kristin Knouse Assistant Professor of Biology;  Intramural Faculty, Koch Institute
Sabatini insists his relationship with scientist Kristin Knouse was consensual until she made claims of sexual harassment.

“If people are close to the idea that there can be a consensual relationship between two adults, I’m afraid there’s nothing we can do,” said Robert Grossman, dean of NYU Medical School.

The NIH did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Knouse did not respond to an email asking for comment. MIT scientist out of work after affair turns into sexual harassment


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