ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The words that fell from his lips in an Albuquerque courtroom crystallized the concerns women struggle with over whether their own words will be believed if they report being raped, assaulted or beaten.
“We have no evidence she was raped,” he said. “We have no evidence, only allegations.”
The words were those of Dr. John Wills, then the University of New Mexico anesthesiology department chairman and one of three male supervisors who had interrogated Dr. Cynthia Herald, a second-year anesthesiology resident, about her allegation that she had been raped by a senior anesthesiology resident in June 2009 and was forced to continue to work with him at the UNM Health Sciences Center until she was fired a year later.
Wills, one of several witnesses who testified this week in Herald’s whistleblower lawsuit against UNM, later appeared to soften his previous testimony by stating that he had in fact believed Herald’s allegations from that September 2009 meeting — what he could remember of them, anyway — but that nothing was done because she had requested nothing be done.