Cambridge don published ‘erotic’ fiction about students while facing sexual harassment accusations

Dr Peter Hutchinson quit teaching at Trinity Hall College in 2015 after allegations

Eleanor Busby
Education Correspondent
Tuesday 18 February 2020 16:03 GMT
Comments
Dr Peter Hutchinson apologised following an internal investigation in 2015
Dr Peter Hutchinson apologised following an internal investigation in 2015 (PA)

A Cambridge don published an erotic novel about a fictional group of students while he was under investigation for sexual harassment.

Dr Peter Hutchinson quit teaching at Trinity Hall College in 2015 after a string of allegations against him in 2014 and 2015 sparked an internal investigation into his conduct.

At the time of the complaints, Dr Hutchinson self-published a book centred around an Oxbridge college under the pseudonym “Barry Able”, an investigation by Tortoise Media has found.

The front cover of the book First Time: Ooo-la-la! features an image of a woman’s leg in stockings – which Dr Hutchinson confirmed belonged to a former Trinity Hall student.

Dr Hutchinson’s authorship of the book has come to light after the academic resigned from Trinity Hall in November following an outcry from students and alumni.

The former modern languages lecturer had been allowed to attend college events as an emeritus fellow despite previous complaints of “inappropriate sexual and sexist” behaviour towards 10 students.

Dr Hutchinson told The Independent that it is “not an ‘erotic’ novel, although it does have erotic moments”. He added that it is part-parody of Evelyn Waugh’s satirical book Decline and Fall.

His book tells the story of a first-year student called Peter at a fictitious Oxford college who is found guilty of alleged sexual impropriety after a “series of erotic adventures”.

Most of the female undergraduates in the book are members of a club called “The Virgins” and must sleep with a man each week, or sleep with a fellow, to remain in the group.

In the opening of the text, a female student is called a “brazen hussy” and others are described as being “exceptionally well endowed” in lingerie, suspenders and garter-belts.

Mr Hutchinson told Tortoise Media that the view of women in the novel can be seen as “progressive” as the opening scene includes an all-women’s society which is in control and “totally liberated”.

On the image on the front-cover, Dr Hutchinson said he did not “see a problem using an unidentifiable photo” of a college student, adding that he was not present when it was taken.

A spokesperson for Trinity Hall College told The Independent: “The college was unaware that this book existed prior to today and its publication had nothing to do with the college.”

In 2017, Dr Hutchinson apologised after 10 students complained of “inappropriate sexual and sexist” behaviour towards them.

The academic was withdrawn from all college activities the same year and Trinity Hall College said he would no longer be present on the grounds.

But in October last year, the college said the decision to remove the former lecturer was “incorrect” and had not been agreed with Dr Hutchinson.

The move prompted widespread criticism and Dr Hutchinson resigned in November.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in