University of Michigan professor charged with first degree sexual misconduct, placed on leave

Peter Chen arraigned on a criminal charge Wednesday

Peter Chen was arraigned on Jan. 27, 2021. (Ann Arbor Police Department)

ANN ARBORStory Update: Peter Chen was found not guilty of criminal sexual misconduct on Monday, Dec. 5, 2022.

University of Michigan professor of computer science and engineering, Peter Chen, has been placed on administrative leave pending criminal charges for sexual misconduct.

Dean of the College of Engineering, Alec Gallimore, alerted students and faculty of Chen’s leave on Thursday.

Chen was arraigned on Wednesday and was given a personal recognizance bond.

“There is no indication that this matter is related to Professor Chen’s teaching or research at U-M,” said Rick Fitzgerald, director of public affairs at U-M.

According to the Ann Arbor Police Department, Chen was the victim’s robotics coach. The girl was 11 years old when the assaults began during the summer of 2017. They continued through the fall of 2018 and occurred mostly at Chen’s home, according to the police report.

Other alleged assaults took place at a robotics camp in Detroit in April 2018 and in a men’s restroom during a field trip to the Ann Arbor wastewater treatment plant.

The girl’s mother filed a police report in November 2019. Chen was a family friend and attended the same church as the family.

Attorneys representing Chen with Bloomfield Hills-based law firm Smith Blythe, PC shared the following statement:

“On January 26, 2021 Mr. Chen was made aware of the criminal sexual conduct allegations that had been made against him. He completely denies the allegations and has cooperated fully with the Ann Arbor Police Department to assist them in their investigation. Mr. Chen is confident that the truth will prevail and that he will be fully exonerated. Mr. Chen thanks the numerous people who have reached out in support of him over the last few days.”

The case comes on the heels of allegations of sexual assault and verbal abuse by former students, employees and clients against Jason Mars, an assistant professor of computer science at U-M who stepped down as CEO of Clinc, the company he co-founded with his wife following an internal investigation. In February 2020, U-M’s computer science faculty called on Mars to take leave.

Mars still teaches at U-M and last month students launched a petition to have his appointment rescinded.

University of Michigan professor put on leave amid allegations of child sexual abuse