MILWAUKEE -- He is suspected of abusing his position and sexually assaulting students. A University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee professor now faces felony charges.
Professor Anthony Azenabor is now barred from campus -- and could spend time behind bars if convicted of sexually violating students at UW-Milwaukee. Students are appalled to hear about the alleged behavior.
"It upset me a lot. Campus is supposed to be a safe place," said Carly Grover, UWM junior. "That is just sickening."
Court documents revealed that the home of the Panthers, Professor Azenabor was reportedly acting like a predator. The professor of Health Sciences is accused of luring one of his students to his lab under the guise that the meeting being school related. At one point, the documents say the professor grabbed the victim, "forced her onto his lap," rubbing and touching her inappropriately. In another instance, he allegedly pushed her onto a bench and forcibly raped her.
"A lot of students look up to their professors -- and it's really sad that it had to happen," Grover said.
The investigation led to another one of the professor's former students who claims he made unwanted sexual advances and contact with her as well.
"I don't think he should be able to teach anymore. He shouldn't be around young adults or kids or anybody," Grover said.
UW-Milwaukee Chancellor Mark Mone released a statement on Monday, March 4 that reads as follows:
"Over the weekend, UW-Milwaukee Professor of Health Sciences Anthony Azenabor was charged with two counts of felony sexual assault with the use of force and one misdemeanor count of fourth degree sexual assault related to interactions with UWM students. Yesterday, a Milwaukee County judge issued a no contact order, barring Professor Azenabor from the UWM campus.
"The charges against Professor Azenabor are very serious. Our UWM Police Department has been working closely with the district attorney’s office on the criminal investigation, and university leadership is evaluating his continued employment. While a no contact order was issued yesterday as part of the legal proceedings, UWM took actions previously to preclude Professor Azenabor from having any contact with UWM students. In addition, he is not teaching any courses this semester.
"UWM is committed to maintaining a safe environment for all everyone, and we always encourage students, faculty and staff who believe they have been victimized to come forward and speak to police and other resource offices as noted below. Those who report issues like this are courageous and their bravery allows us to take responsive actions.
"The following offices are resources for students seeking assistance or support:
• Dean of Students Office: 414-229-4632
• Norris Health Center/University Counseling Services: 414-229-4716
• Victim Advocacy Services: 414-229-4582
• Women’s Resource Center: 414-229-2852
"Faculty and staff in need of assistance may contact our Employee Assistance Program online or by calling (866) 274-4723.
"Faculty, staff and students who believe they have inappropriate behavior to report may contact:
• UWM Police: 414-229-4627 (non-emergency) or 9911 (emergency)
• Equity/Diversity Services: 414-229-5923
• Human Resources 414-229-4463
"We will provide updates as they are available, noting that we will adhere to legal and confidentiality provisions that sometimes restrict what information may be shared and the timing of when information may be shared.
"I want to assure you that our ultimate goal is to provide a safe campus in which our students, faculty and staff thrive. I am committed to addressing this matter directly as well as advancing our work to cultivate a campus environment of zero-tolerance for sexual assault and misconduct. Thank you for your part in making UWM a safe campus for everyone."
Reports say both victims initially felt scared to speak up because of fear they would not be granted a PhD or graduate degree.
Azenabor faces two felony counts of second degree sexual assault -- as well as a misdemeanor charge of fourth degree sexual assault.