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U of M professor sentenced to nearly 6 months in workhouse following domestic assault case

June 19, 2019 07:06 PM

A well-known University of Minnesota professor and world-renowned explorer was sentenced Wednesday to just under six months at the Hennepin County workhouse after pleading guilty to domestic assault by strangulation.

Aaron Doering is not allowed to leave the workhouse during his 180-day sentence unless he has work or is looking for work, according to the terms of his confinement discussed in court.

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RELATED: U of M professor to be sentenced in domestic assault case

The University of Minnesota will not say it’s made any move to fire the tenured professor, saying simply that he remains on administrative leave.

The woman Doering is now convicted of assaulting broke her public silence Wednesday by delivering a passionate victim impact statement to the court.

“He not only physically, verbally and emotionally abused me, but he also slowly, deliberately and methodically tried to take away everything that made me me,” Molly Rosenblatt told the judge, calling Doering a “monster.”

Since Doering’s arrest in December, 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS had chosen not to identify Rosenblatt as the victim, but on Wednesday she gave permission to record her statement in court and to identify her.

“The way he would rip my hair from my scalp made it hard to even shower,” Rosenblatt said. “I don’t want to describe too much about the violent attacks because I don’t want my father to know just how badly that man (Doering) hurt his daughter.”

Doering apologized to the judge when given an opportunity to address the court.

“I’ve struggled with my relationships and my sobriety. I’ve been depressed and it’s culminating with me being here, sitting amongst my mistakes,” Doering said. “I’m very sorry for what has happened.”

Doering, an internationally-recognized explorer who received significant funding through grant money at the university, pleaded guilty in April to domestic assault by strangulation, as well as violating a domestic abuse no-contact order.

Although the domestic assault was originally charged as a felony, Doering's plea deal allowed him to be convicted of a gross misdemeanor instead.

RELATED: U of M professor charged with domestic assault

The case came to a head in December when police were called to a Minneapolis apartment on Dec. 26 on a report of a "domestic assault-in-progress."

Police gained entrance to the apartment and found Doering and a woman inside. When asked what had happened, the woman said Doering had assaulted her during the course of an argument.

One month after Doering was arrested during that dispute, two more women – an ex-wife and ex-fiancée - told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS that he also physically abused them.

After court on Wednesday, Doering continued to deny those allegations.

“It’s absolutely not true. It’s crazy,” Doering said.

RELATED: U of M professor pleads guilty to domestic assault

The two women, Nina Orezzoli and Amy Matthews, were in court for Doering’s sentencing. Earlier, a judge ruled they would have been allowed to testify for the prosecution if the case had gone to trial.

“I feel vindicated. I feel like the truth is out there,” Orezzoli said.

Both she and Matthews also submitted victim impact statements to the court even though their allegations are not outlined in any criminal charges.

“I’ve seen him try to deceive the court so many times, but the saddest part is he’s just trying to deceive himself,” Matthews said.

RELATED: 2 more women say they were abused by well-known professor at U of

Following the sentencing, a spokesperson for the University of Minnesota issued the following statement to KSTP:

"The University is aware of the outcome of Professor Doering's sentencing hearing today. Unequivocally, the University denounces all forms of domestic violence, including the conduct Professor Doering admitted to in court.

"Professor Doering is a tenured faculty member. The Tenure Code details his employment rights, rights which the University is required to consider. He is currently on administrative leave, where he will continue active research and academic writing that can be done off campus and without communicating with members of the campus community. He is not teaching classes or working on campus in any capacity."


Resources available

5 EYEWITNESS NEWS has compiled a list of resources for those who have experienced, or are experiencing, domestic abuse:

Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women

hotline: 866-223-1111

Battered Women's Legal Advocacy Project

hotline: 800-313-2666

Cornerstone

hotline: 866-223-1111

Domestic Abuse Project

services line: 612-874-7063 x232

Minnesota Day One

hotline: 866-223-1111

Tubman

hotline: 612-825-0000


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Rebecca Omastiak

Copyright 2019 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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