Emory doctor sues university, claims ‘anti-male bias’ in investigation

A pediatric anesthesiologist is suing his employer, Emory University, alleging the school “demonstrated anti-male bias” while investigating sexual harassment allegations made against him.

Dr. James Mooney filed the federal lawsuit last week. His attorney, James McCabe, said Mooney was demoted and treated unfairly during a lengthy Title IX investigation in which he was “eventually cleared of violations.”

“When it comes to sexual harassment allegations, it seems more and more these days, men are guilty until proven innocent. That was the case for Dr. Mooney,” said McCabe, in an email to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Emory declined to comment on pending litigation. Mooney works at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and as an Emory School of Medicine faculty member.

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The suit alleges that he went through about two years of agony as school officials mishandled an investigation into accusations “that should have been dismissed at an early stage.”

The suit states that another Emory doctor filed an initial Title IX complaint against Mooney in March 2021 after she alleged he made inappropriate comments in the workplace. About a month later, Mooney was removed from his position of director of pain services at CHOA, a demotion that came with a pay cut, according to the suit.

Mooney filed his own Title IX complaint alleging he had faced retaliation and harassment. The suit contends Emory ignored his claims while “vigorously” and “fully” looking into allegations leveled against Mooney by the doctor and another woman, a CHOA nurse practitioner.

The suit cites numerous concerns about the investigation, including the time it took to complete, that an investigator “persistently posed pedantic follow-up questions” to Mooney and that Mooney wasn’t given a chance to rebut some evidence.

”For nearly two years, Dr. Mooney had to navigate each day under the weight of the fear that he might lose his job and that his professional reputation be permanently damaged to the point that he may no longer be permitted to practice medicine,” the suit states.

The suit seeks damages and attorneys’ fees and costs.