Students of Andrew Appleton, the WSU professor arrested for the alleged rape of a teenage female relative, say the professor would frequently talk about the girl in his classes.
Moscow Police arrested Appleton, 51, on Tuesday. He is charged with felony rape. Appleton allegedly developed a relationship with his relative during a two-year period, while acting as her legal guardian from 2009 to 2012.
Samir Junejo, a recent WSU political science graduate, said he would mention the girl in class several times to illustrate his points, referring to her as his daughter.
“He used her mainly as a representation whenever he would talk about our generation,” Junejo said.
Junejo also said Appleton’s classes were never boring. Even when discussing a dry topic, Appleton would find ways to keep students engaged, he said.
“Every time I went to his class I always knew that I would never be bored – I wouldn’t fall asleep,” Junejo said.
Jake Mayson, a senior political science major, said he would not be surprised if future employers ask if he took a class with Appleton because of the arrest. However, he does not feel his degree is compromised, because in spite of the situation, Appleton was an accomplished professor.
Mayson said Appleton would use the girl’s political beliefs as examples in class. The professor would often begin class by sharing stories about her.
“It seemed super innocent,” he said. “Just like any other (relative) would have talked about (her).”
“Honestly, it’s kind of disconcerting to think that somebody who seemed so normal, so happy could do something like that,” he said, “and to violate someone like that is really scary.”
LaKecia Farmer, a sophomore political science major, said she does not think the incident will tarnish the reputation of WSU.
She said the professor would tell the class about what his relative was up to.
“Like when professors talk about their own children or something, ‘Oh my daughter did this,’” Farmer said. “He would talk about (her) in that way.”
Farmer said Appleton was her favorite political science professor.
“You just don’t want that on the higher education level,” Farmer said. “You think it only happens in certain populations, but it happens everywhere.”
Brenna Stroup, the president of Voices for Planned Parenthood at WSU, said more than 70 percent of rape victims know the attacker. She also said 56 percent of high school girls and 76 percent of high school boys believe that forced sex is acceptable in some circumstances.
“Unfortunately, because of how our society responds to sexual assault, internalized sexism and violence occurs often,” she said in an email to The Daily Evergreen, “and women often think it is their responsibility to prevent being raped, and blame themselves.”
Appleton’s initial court hearing is set for Oct. 3.