Lawsuit Unveils Disturbing Allegations of Sexual Harassment by Former New Mexico State University Professor

Las Cruces, New Mexico – A former professor at New Mexico State University is facing allegations of sexual harassment in a lawsuit filed by a woman identified as Jane Doe. The lawsuit claims that the university failed to take action after being made aware of the incident. The accused professor, Joseph Berning, retired quietly at the end of the 2022 spring semester.

According to the lawsuit, Berning had a reputation for using his position to groom and sexually harass his students while he was employed at the university. This is not the first time such allegations have been made against him. In 2013, another woman filed a Title IX complaint against Berning, but no action was taken.

The plaintiff, Jane Doe, met Berning in 2013 when she was a student in one of his classes. Years later, she became his mentee and was employed by him. The nearly 40-page docket details several instances of abuse, including physical assault and non-consensual sexual relations.

Paul Linnenburger, the attorney representing Jane Doe, claimed that a Title IX report was submitted to NMSU staff and investigated. However, Berning was allowed to retire just one day before a hearing was scheduled to take place. Linnenburger criticized the university, pointing out that people in positions of authority had the opportunity to stop the abuse when the initial report was filed in 2013.

CBS4 reached out to NMSU for comment on the lawsuit, but has yet to receive a response. The complaint names 15 individuals, including Berning’s spouse. The alleged role of Berning’s spouse in the abuse will be revealed during CBS4 News at 10.

This lawsuit highlights the serious issue of sexual harassment within educational institutions and the need for immediate and effective action in response to such allegations. NMSU now faces scrutiny for its handling of previous complaints against Berning and its duty to protect students from harassment and abuse. The outcome of this case will have significant implications for the university’s reputation and its commitment to ensuring a safe learning environment.