Rape accusation against Whitman’s son kept quiet
October 23, 2010
The son of Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman was accused of sexually assaulting a female classmate while a student at Princeton University–a school that lists Whitman as one of its most generous donors. [Gawker]
Critics contend that the incident has been downplayed by university officials, unwilling to embarrass the former e-Bay CEO who has donated more than $30 million to the Ivy League school.
Griffith Rutherford Harsh V was never arrested or charged with a crime in connection with the 2006 incident. Princeton dealt with it quietly and internally, ultimately allowing Harsh to continue his education. He graduated with the class of 2009, three years after his rape accusation—and two years after the inauguration of Whitman College, the residential living complex his billionaire mother donated $30 million to help build.
A young woman, a classmate of Harsh, told university officials that she awoke one morning with a black eye, bruised and bloodied face, and no memories from the previous night. Harsh admitted to having sex with the woman, but insisted it was consensual, and that her injuries had come from falling down.
The woman consulted her friends, some of whom worried about the “social repercussions” of accusing such a high-profile student of rape. She was “terrified,” according to her friend. “She didn’t want to press charges because it’s Meg Whitman’s son. She didn’t want to go through that. She didn’t go to the police. She didn’t get a rape kit.”
The university disciplinary panel concluded that it did not have enough evidence to discipline Harsh. He took a leave of absence for a year before finally graduating in 2009.
His legal troubles didn’t stop there. Shortly after the Princeton rape incident, Harsh was back home in California when he was arrested for breaking a woman’s ankle during a brawl at a bar. He was released after his mother posted $25,000 in bail and the charges were eventually dismissed.
Whitman’s other son, Will Harsh, also enjoyed a rather controversial time at Princeton.