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Jul 26, 2014 04:56 AM EDT

IUSB Professor Files Defamation Lawsuit against Colleague over Plagiarism Claims


Peter Aghimien, an Indiana University South Bend professor, has filed a lawsuit against a colleague for defamation of character in the workplace.

The accounting professor sued Mark Fox for spreading false reports of alleged plagiarism of research papers. Fox's complaint to the University about plagiarism allegations triggered an internal investigation.

School spokesman Ken Baierl said that despite the investigation proved Aghimien's innocence, Fox continues to assert that Aghimien did plagiarize a paper he co-wrote.

Fox, a professor of management and entrepreneurship, repeatedly accused him of plagiarism and research misconduct on blog posts, e-mails and phone calls with other staffers, The Indy Channel reports.

"It was disastrous. I had many sleepless nights, panic attacks. He should have waited for the university to draw its conclusion.... this guy was just out to destroy me because otherwise, he won't go that length," said Aghimien, Chair of Accounting at the Leighton School of Business and Economics.

"...He crossed the line because the university has, as part of the policy, that this has to be conducted confidentially. So he proceeded, after filing, to start to broadcast my name, to libel me outside."

Aghimien said that a rumor of plagiarism could have abruptly ended his academic career. Ever since the accusations surfaced, it put his research under risk and his colleagues started looking at him with suspicion. His wife, Mabel, is also named as a plaintiff in the lawsuit due to the effect the allegations had on their family.

Responding to the lawsuit, Fox said, "I'm comfortable that I have not made any comments that could be regarded as defamatory against Dr. Aghimien. I have simply pointed out that wording in research by Dr. Aghimien is the same as wording used by others," South Bend Tribune reports

Both professors teach in the Judd Leighton School of Business and Economics.

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