( Daily Mail): An academic whose work has helped shape South Australia’s response to Covid-19 has denied assaulting a university colleague with whom he had sex on a retreat.
Professor Joshua Ross insists his sexual activity with Dr Giang Thu Nguyen at the Stamford Grand Hotel in the Adelaide beachside suburb of Glenelg was consensual.
Dr Nguyen, who works with Professor Ross at the University of Adelaide, is alleging she was sexually harassed and the university failed to adequately investigate her complaint.
Her compensation case against the university and Professor Ross began being heard by the tribunal on Wednesday, The Advertiser reported.
Dr Nguyen claims she was ‘not able to consent, and did not consent’ when Professor Nguyen performed sex acts on her because she was too intoxicated.
Professor Ross asserts Dr Nguyen initiated sexual contact by kissing him and was a ‘willing consensual partner… cognisant and capable of consent’, according to documents seen by the The Advertiser.
Professor Ross, from the university’s School of Mathematical Sciences, has provided Covid modelling to SA Health which was used to inform decisions about border closures and vaccination.
Dr Nguyen, who is a senior lecturer in the same department, is also the director of gender, diversity and inclusion at the Faculty of Engineering, Computer and Mathematical Sciences.
Both academics attended a three-day retreat held by the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Mathematical and Statistical Frontiers in late October 2019.
Dr Nguyen says in court documents she had consumed alcohol and ‘became significantly intoxicated’ while socialising after the conference.
A group had dined at Sammy’s on the Marina then had drinks at the Moseley Bar and Kitchen and the Glenelg Pier Hotel until 2am.
‘By around this time, [Dr Nguyen] was extremely intoxicated to the extent that she experienced significant memory impairment, loss of balance and coordination, slurred speech and slow decision making,’ court documents state.
Dr Nguyen alleges Professor Ross had sexual intercourse with her in his hotel room between 1.45am and 5am.
‘Due to the level of Dr Nguyen’s intoxication, she was not able to consent and did not consent to the acts of sexual intercourse,’ the court documents say.
Dr Nguyen alleges when she woke naked on a couch in Professor Ross’s room and saw him asleep in his bed she vomited on the couch and crawled to the bathroom. She later made a complaint to police.