Current track



McMaster prof fired over ‘exploitative’ sexual relations with students: university

Written by on May 28, 2024

HAMILTON — McMaster University has fired a psychology professor who it says had sexual relations with a number of students, including one who was vulnerable and relying on him for support.

The university says a committee that reviewed Scott Watter’s behaviour described it as “unethical, inappropriate and in some instances exploitative,” finding that his removal was the “only reasonable outcome.”

Watter was arrested in 2020 and later acquitted by a judge of the alleged sexual assault of a graduate student, accusations that led the university to conduct its own review that also led to the suspension of two other faculty members.

The committee found Watter pursued a sexual relationship with a graduate student who he knew had suicidal thoughts and whose self-harm became more severe and frequent during their relationship, accusing him of exploiting her for his personal benefit.

It also found he had sexual relations with two students he met on a website marketed as a platform for so-called “sugar daddies” and then hired one of them without first disclosing the relationship.

The committee’s summary report notes Watter claimed he dealt with power imbalance issues in the relationships, but the committee found it was more likely his attempts to reassure each student who expressed doubts was manipulative.

A lawyer for Watter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 28, 2024.

The Canadian Press