New Hampshire's attorney general is investigatingfor alleged sexual misconduct. Dartmouth College said they are all tenured members of its faculty. Todd Heatherton, William Kelley and Paul Whalen teach in the school's Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences.
Dartmouth is located in a remote New England town – far from the glitz and glamour of Hollywood – but the accusations of sexual impropriety against three prominent professors could show the ever-widening scope of thereports CBS News correspondent Jericka Duncan.
One of the accused professors spoke to CBS News through his lawyers. In a statement, Todd Heatherton denied violating any college policies, including those against sexual misconduct and harassment. "He has engaged in no sexual relations with any student," the statement said.
Graduate student Carly Bobak was surprised when she learned of the college's investigation.
"Dartmouth is known for being very focused on gender equality. So to have something like this happen strikes me as unusual and surprising," Bobak said.
Last week, the school revealed it was investigating Heatherton and two other professors, William Kelley, co-director of the Dartmouth Brain Imaging Center, and Paul Whalen, who has his own lab and gave a TEDx Talk on campus.
"You have forces that you can't control conspiring, sometimes, to set you off and intrude on your day so you don't get your work done," Whalen said in his TEDx speech.
The investigation is one of the latest in a series involving prominent men accused of inappropriate behavior since allegations of rape and harassment led to the firing of Harvey Weinstein – who is now under investigation by the Beverly Hills Police Department.
The exact nature of the allegations against the professors is unclear but five state and local law enforcement agencies are conducting the criminal investigation.
New Hampshire Attorney General Gordon J. McDonald said "At this time, we have no basis to conclude that there is a threat to the general public."
"It's concerning, definitely, for my friends and everyone I know, especially my female friends," said first-year student Zachary Bilcheck.
Dartmouth placed the professors on paid leave and restricted their access to the campus. In a message to students and staff Tuesday, Philip Hanlon, the college's president, said: "sexual misconduct and harassment are unacceptable and have no place at Dartmouth."
Heatherton's lawyers said he went on a long-planned sabbatical before he learned of Dartmouth's investigation.
The other two professors did not respond to CBS News' requests for comment. The college says it is cooperating with law enforcement officials on the matter.