McAllister Olivarius in the news

““Before the clock starts running on Xu’s response time, we need to serve him. However, he has left the jurisdiction and has kept his current location well-guarded, which has made service difficult,” said Ali Wilkinson, an attorney for the New York-based firm McAllister Olivarius.”

“Last month, when there were concerns that Xu might flee the country, Wilkinson said that regardless, McAllister Olivarius would continue to pursue the case.

“If he has fled, we will continue to zealously pursue this case against him, in conformance with international treaties and the law,” she said.

“His victims deserve the chance to be heard, and Xu needs to be held accountable for his actions.”

In the 87-page lawsuit, two of Xu’s former UI students accuse him of taking advantage of his position as head of the East Asian Languages and Cultures department from 2012 to 2015 to sexually and emotionally exploit his young Chinese students, who depended on him for their visas.”

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“A legal analyst who works for a Maidenhead-based law firm specialising in sexual harassment and online abuse has turned the tables on bullies who sent inappropriate messages to her - telling them 'you picked the wrong person'.

Jessica Van Meir, an employee of McAllister Olivarius, based in West Street Maidenhead, was travelling alone to the US when she started receiving inappropriate messages from a group of men on Virgin’s in-flight messaging system. One of the men told her 'welcome to hell' and warned 'you are now in the danger zone'.

Jessica has also received online abuse since the story was picked up by mainstream media outlets, prompting associate lawyer Amy Kowalski to speak out in support of her colleague this week.

She said: “The onus is often placed on us to keep ourselves safe — to not accept the chat request, to dress a certain way, to behave a certain way — but our message to perpetrators is that they are the ones who need to change. Let’s put the shame where it belongs.”

“Elaborating on her comments she said this week: “While anyone can be a victim of revenge porn and online abuse, it is becoming worryingly routine for women and girls. Frankly, the problems with the Virgin system could and should have been anticipated. We’re not opposed to innovation but it needs to be engineered with safety at its core, not as an afterthought.”

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We are extremely proud, but not at all surprised, of the swift and efficient way Jessica Van Meir handled the situation. She’s speaking up for women everywhere harassed while simply going about their day, and we are thrilled to have her in our office.

“The unwelcome messages appeared to come from a group of passengers sitting behind her, who she passed on the way to the restroom.

One message named her seat number specifically and called her "tidy babe." Another message from a different seat number says "welcome to hell."

Van Meir, who is a paralegal and works for a firm that specializes in sexual harassment litigation, responded:

"i work for a law firm that specializes in online sexual harassment. enjoy being reported to virgin."

“Alison Wilkinson, attorney for McAllister Olivarius, has been working on the sexual harassment case against Gary Xu, former head of the East Asian Language and Culture Department, and has just filed a complaint on behalf of his three former students. 

Wilkinson said in the case of Xu, the victims were all from China, where there is a stronger deference element to the professorial student relationship, which Xu knowingly used to his advantage. 

“Some sort of beginning, primer, intensive session with foreign students would be really helpful to set the stage for what should and shouldn’t be allowed,” Wilkinson said. 

According to the Sexual Misconduct Perceived Campus Response Survey, about half of students reported knowing where to get help following an incident of sexual misconduct. About 30% report understanding the process that occurs following a report of misconduct. 

Wilkinson said teaching assistants, faculty and most people who knew what was going on with Xu said they didn’t feel there was a clear reporting path. “

“They either hadn’t been trained, or they didn’t remember that they had been trained,” Wilkinson said. “Or they didn’t know how anyone could respond since he was the head of the department.” “

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“UR’s law team violated confidentiality of 23 witnesses in the federal lawsuit pitting UR against former students and employees who say they were retaliated against for coming forward with sexual harassment allegations. This is the third time UR has faced criticism relating to confidentiality in the fallout of accusations against professor T. Florian Jaeger. 

On the evening of Sept. 25, Ward Greenberg — the law firm representing UR — failed to remove a key of the pseudonyms and identities of anonymous witnesses from court documents before filing them on the federal court document database PACER, where they were accessible to the public until the next morning.”

““The fact that this happened made me realize that my desire to remain anonymous can and is being used against me and the other witnesses,” Brown said. “A lot of whom are in positions where they’re more vulnerable to retaliation and intimidation than I am.”

“It ensures that other witnesses will not come forward because they won’t be guaranteed to be able to do so anonymously, now that the unmasking has occurred,” Jessica Cantlon, one of the complainants, said.”

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UR's legal team divulged their names in court filings last week — marking the third time lawyers for the university allegedly have publicly identified confidential witnesses in the case, according to the plaintiffs lawyers.

The latest breach led one witness to come forward and openly criticize the university.

"For a long time it felt safer to share my experiences anonymously than to speak out openly," said Meredith Brown, a former graduate research fellow at UR now a senior data scientist at Vertex Pharmaceuticals. "But I wasn’t considering how my desire for anonymity could potentially open me, and the other witnesses, up to intimidation and retaliation by those who wish to silence us."

“The women's names were provided in a table marked confidential in red, bold letters, and attached to a letter reiterating the need for confidentiality, according to McAllister Olivarius. The women, the firm noted, "gave often deeply personal accounts of sexual harassment and misconduct by Jaeger," with assurances their names would not be made public.”

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On September 25, the University of Rochester’s lawyers Ward Greenberg wrongly divulged the confidential names of 23 women referred to by pseudonyms in the federal case concerning Florian Jaeger, Aslin et al v. University of Rochester et al. These women, who gave often deeply personal accounts of sexual harassment and misconduct by Jaeger, did so based on assurances that Plaintiffs would not release their names publicly, unless required to do so by the court. Ward Greenberg originally insisted that our clients should not be allowed to refer to these women by pseudonym, but the Judge disagreed. He permitted the use of pseudonyms in the public docket in order to protect the privacy of these women, and instead ordered Plaintiffs to provide the real names to Ward Greenberg by private, confidential correspondence. Contrary to the spirit of Judge Vilardo’s order, Ward Greenberg published a complete table of witness names next to their pseudonyms, provided last week by McAllister Olivarius, the Plaintiffs’ attorneys. The table was marked STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL in red capital bold letters at the top, and was attached to a letter that reiterated the need for confidentiality. Nevertheless, Ward Greenberg put the list on the online public court file and left it there for over 13 hours, until Plaintiffs’ attorneys found it and requested its immediate removal. In the meantime, it was freely available on the federal courts’ online public filing system PACER. In fact, this is the third time UR’s lawyers have divulged the identities of confidential witnesses who are willing to testify against UR in the Aslin case. The University’s in-house lawyer Catherine Nearpass did so after producing an internal report exonerating Jaeger. The second time, another law firm hired by UR to carry out an independent investigation released the names of four witnesses. Ward Greenberg was already representing UR at the time of the second breach. Based on this experience, they had to know to be especially careful with confidential identities in this case.

Read the rest of the press release here.

“The case is of particular importance, Olivarius says, because “sexual harassment of undergraduate and graduate students remains an epidemic despite the progress reflected in the #MeToo movement. Chinese students in the US are particularly vulnerable because of their unfamiliarity with sexual harassment protections, their tradition of deference to professors and their precarious visa status. The University of Illinois has more than 5,000 Chinese students. I’m sure most of them are receiving an excellent education, but it’s important for big universities to realise that they should not try to sweep abuse under the rug to avoid scandal that might hurt recruitment, but deal with it squarely and protect students.”

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Revenge pornography -- also termed image-based sexual abuse -- is a growing problem that hurts women and girls especially. Because inadequate laws lag far behind rapid technological developments and fail to address the often devastating consequences, it is crucial for survivors to have access to new ways to minimize damage and pursue justice. For this reason, trans-Atlantic law firm McAllister Olivarius, a leader in this emerging area of law, has developed an innovative web-based service, revengepornlawyers.com, that provides immediate self-help solutions for survivors and makes legal advice more accessible to them too. The site offers two tracks to survivors. One is a “DIY” section that explains the legal landscape and provides information on steps that survivors can take themselves to reduce harm and pursue the perpetrator. It includes ‘how-to’ guides on preserving evidence, strengthening cybersecurity protection, and contacting websites and social media platforms to request the removal of offending content. The other track offers access to the firm’s lawyers for a low-cost (£250) consultation, using an innovative online questionnaire that allows survivors to explain their case effectively. The process has been designed to help clients describe their situation in their own terms, allowing the legal staff to zero in quickly on the available options. The next step is a phone consultation to discuss possible courses of action. This approach gives survivors control over when and how they share their stories and ensures that consultations are solutions-based.

Read the rest of our press release here