Former Professor John Hoon Lee Named in Sexual Assault Investigation


Ricky Zhao / The Triton

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Content warning: This article contains graphic accounts of sexual assault and sexual harassment.

Former Revelle College Humanities Professor John Hoon Lee was found in violation of UC Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment policy, according to an investigation report dated July 2017. Lee was placed on investigative leave and resigned after the investigation concluded.

According to the investigation report, Lee would ask students personal questions about their sex lives and lost interest when they changed the topic to something else during office hours. The students felt uncomfortable with these conversations to the point that they did not want to be near Lee’s office.

One of the students reported that Lee often took students to lunch off campus, but in one instance, he told her he had a surprise for her and took her to his home, where they had several glasses of wine. Lee discussed his sex life, and allegedly admitted to a previous relationship with another student.

The student reported feeling dizzy, so he had her lie down in his bed, where he tied her up, sexually assaulted her, and didn’t stop until she said she had a boyfriend.

Emails and texts were also submitted, showing Lee asking a student to not change the route she took to class because he “liked when she walked by his office.” In one email, he sent a student a sexually explicit link. The student reported that Lee continuously emailed her asking to get lunch.

During the investigation, Lee denied all allegations of sexual harassment, but admitted to having a student at his house and having her stand in front of a mirror because she had “low self-esteem.”

Lee later claimed the student’s testimony was flawed: He did not force her because “the act of being tied up requires consent.” He said he frequently brought students to his home for one-on-one lunches and dinners because he liked feeding hungry students.

He sent the investigator emails about his teaching awards and other evidence that he was a beloved teacher to prove his innocence.

Lee could not be reached for comment, but according to records obtained by The Triton, Lee resigned before he could face disciplinary action.

If you are in need of support services, please consider calling the following resources:

CARE at the Sexual Assault Resource Center, (858) 534-5793 or After hours: 858-534-HELP

CARE at SARC is located on the fifth floor of the Student Services Center and is available to UCSD students, faculty, and staff.

Center for Community Solutions (CCS), San Diego County’s rape crisis and domestic violence agency, (888) 385-4657

National Sexual Assault Hotline, (800) 656-HOPE

Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination (OPHD), UCSD’s Title IX office tasked with investigating sexual harassment and sexual assault between students. You can report incidents anonymously by using the report bias web form, calling (858) 534-8298, or emailing

Ethan Coston is an Assistant News Editor for The Triton. You can follow him @Ethan4Books

This article was updated on October 16, 2018 at 6:45 p.m. A previous version of the article stated that UC San Diego Communications Director for Student Affairs Christine Clark had personally confirmed Lee’s resignation. Clark directed The Triton to the latest Title IX records release.