Professor’s Interest in Student’s Porn Modeling Leads to Lawsuit | Frenkel & Frenkel
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Jun 18
2014

Professor’s Interest in Student’s Porn Modeling Leads to Lawsuit

Professors-Interest-in-Students-Porn-Modeling-Leads-to-Lawsuit A PSU student who worked as a pornographic model has filed a lawsuit against the college and the professor she says fixated on her pornography career.

A former student at Portland State University has filed a lawsuit alleging a professor's intense interest in her career as a pornographic bondage model made her physically ill and damaged her academic career. The student is seeking more than one million dollars in damages from PSU and the English professor.

Alleged Charges

Professor Marcia Klotz taught a class entitled "The Erotics of Power," which included sexual topics. Whitney "Theda" Orlando was a student in that class. At the time, Klotz was an assistant professor of English. PSU admits that Klotz and Orlando exchanged more than 200 emails between 2009 and 2012, many of them about sexual topics. According to lawsuit documents, Klotz complimented bondage photographs that Orlando sent her and asked to be put in touch with others who engaged in bondage or sadomasochism in order to ask them research questions. Klotz encouraged Orlando and others to watch a documentary about a pornography website; Klotz then wrote a paper entitled "It's Not Really Porn: Insex and the Revolution in Technological Interactivity," in which she mentioned the website and Orlando, although not by name.

Escalating Level of Sexual Tension

The lawsuit alleges that Orlando became uncomfortable regarding the escalating level of the sexual tension between the two women, and that she believed Klotz used academic authority to obtain sexual gratification. She also alleges that Klotz compelled her to study sex-related topics, causing her to suffer stress, anxiety and heart problems that required hospitalization. Orlando never complained to PSU and officials say they had no way of knowing of her private communications with Klotz. In addition, a statement placed on the PSU website in 2012 - Orlando says that it was the persistent encouragement from Klotz that pushed her to consider obtaining her doctorate degree - stated that she owed her "academic fervor" to Klotz. However, University policy requires professors who enter into a relationship that is amorous, romantic or sexual when a power differential exists, the instructor must report the relationship to their immediate supervisor, at which time an objective third party will control the student's grades and progress.

Scholars Program

Because of this school policy, Klotz would have been prevented from overseeing Orlando's participation in the Ronald McNair scholars program. While participating in the prestigious program, Orlando was mentored by Klotz as she pursued plans to write a paper entitled "Disavowed Power: The Experiences of Early Adolescents Reporting Adult-Child Sex to Law Enforcement." Under the guidance of another faculty member, Orlando changed the topic of her McNair paper to methods for stress management, However, Klotz encouraged Orlando to continue her research into sex-related subject matter related to her personal experiences, as Orlando had revealed as a child she had been sexually abused by a teacher. According to the lawsuit, when Orlando submitted the stress paper, Klotz determined that it failed to meet the McNair requirements and informed PSU officials that she believed the paper had been plagiarized. Orlando left PSU in 2013 without earning a degree and is now a student at Marylhurst University.

When the actions of another person are suspected as the cause of stress, anxiety or health issues, a liability lawsuit may be in order. Contact Dallas-Fort Worth lawyers at Frenkel & Frenkel to schedule a free initial consultation regarding injuries that may have been caused or worsened by someone else's actions. For more information on Frenkel & Frenkel, visit our website at www.FrenkelFirm.com.