Domestic violence charge against Stanford biology professor Hunter Fraser raised to a felony

Nov. 1, 2022, 10:54 a.m.

The domestic violence charge against Stanford biology professor Hunter Fraser was raised from a misdemeanor to a felony Tuesday morning at a Palo Alto Courthouse hearing.

Fraser allegedly threw a woman identified as his girlfriend on the ground and later slammed a door into her while playing a game with her and Fraser’s daughter July 4, according to court records obtained by The Daily. Fraser was then arraigned Sept. 2 on a misdemeanor charge of inflicting corporal injury, and he pleaded not guilty.

The County District Attorney’s office wrote in a statement that the decision to charge Fraser with a felony was made after evidence of the woman’s injuries was obtained by the office.

“​​When the District Attorney’s Office initially reviewed the case, there was no evidence the victim had sustained serious injuries as a result of the assault,” the office wrote. “We only recently learned the victim suffered fractured ribs when Defendant assaulted her.”

Results from a CT angiogram of the woman’s chest after the alleged assault provided to The Daily showed that the woman had two broken ribs. The Daily is aware of the identity of the woman but is withholding it for her safety.

Fraser addressed the allegations in an email to his lab, the Fraser Laboratory, after the hearing Tuesday.

“While I am prevented from going into details here while the case is pending, I do want you to know that the allegations against me are untrue,” he wrote. “At no point in my career or in my personal life has anyone ever made such an accusation or allegation against me before. This has all been incredibly jarring.”

“In our current cultural moment, I realize that my words may stir skepticism, but they are the truth,” Fraser added, urging the members of his lab to “allow the process to be fully completed before reaching any conclusions.”

News that Fraser had been arrested and charged with domestic violence rippled across campus in early October and prompted some student calls for his removal.

The Undergraduate Senate named Fraser in its October resolution calling on Stanford to address sexual violence that, among other requests, urged administrators to fire and remove honors from faculty who have been reported to have committed acts of sexual violence.

Posters also appeared on campus in late October urging students to sign a petition calling on Stanford to “put Fraser on leave and protect its students.” The petition garnered over 80 signatures as of Tuesday morning, with the majority of the signatories identifying themselves as current Stanford students and alumni.

“Stanford calls it a ‘personal matter.’ Urge Stanford to protect its students,” the posters read, referring to an email sent to biology Ph.D. students by department leadership that acknowledged the matter but wrote it is an “external legal matter that we cannot comment on.”

Fraser and the University did not respond to a request for comment.

Kate Selig is a news managing editor. She previously served as the Vol. 260 editor in chief. Contact her at kselig 'at' stanforddaily.com.

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