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UNF professor accused of sexually harassing student, documents show

Gregory Ahearn on administrative leave during investigation

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Gregory Ahearn, a tenured Biology professor at the University of North Florida, is under investigation after he was accused of sexually harassing a student.

According to documents News4Jax obtained from the school, Ahearn, 74, is on paid administrative leave during an investigation. He's accused of engaging in inappropriate sexual activity and making sexist comments toward a female student.

Documents state Ahearn was notified about the allegations in September, which is when he was placed on leave. The investigation should be completed by next week, UNF said.

STORY UPDATE: UNF Spinnaker reports Ahearn retired on Nov. 26,
he Monday after the investigation was made public

This was not the first time the professor has been investigated due to claims of sexual harassment, documents show.

In 2008, Ahearn was given a counseling memorandum after he shared a hotel room with a female graduate student during a conference in Africa. Ahearn claimed no inappropriate behavior occurred in the room, but UNF said sharing the room was improper.

According to the UNF Spinnaker, a counseling memorandum is not a form of discipline. It's also not considered a written warning.

In 2012, documents show Ahearn was accused of making unwelcome sexual advances to a student employee. The student claimed Ahearn made inappropriate comments, sent "flirtatious" texts and forced her to kiss him.

As result, Ahearn was required to attend sexual harassment training, told not to travel with students to conferences and placed on a five-year probation, documents show.

News4Jax went to Ahearn's address where a woman claiming to be his wife answered the door. When asked if she'd like to comment on the allegations, she responded, "No. Not now."

According to his biography on UNF's website, Ahearn has been at the university since 2001. He was a recipient of the John A. Delaney Endowed Presidential Professorship and received two grants for research funding.


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