Community Service Announcement
About a month ago, several members of our Community shared an important but disturbing article on Medium revealing that we had an abuser in our midst. You can read the original and continually updated post here:
As the story gained traction and readership, more and more people – many of them friends, colleagues, and associates of our Science on Google+ community – came forward with their own contributions and acknowledgments of abuse: psychological manipulation, financial malfeasance amounting to tens of thousands of dollars, emotional abuse, sexual assault. The damage has been wide-ranging and traumatic.
Situations like this are shocking to anyone of good conscience, and this case strikes particularly close to home: the perpetrator, Scott Lewis, was formerly a moderator in this community. We were not aware of his abusive behavior during his brief tenure as a moderator, and his profile has been removed from our Member list. We at Science on Google+ absolutely reject and oppose his deplorable, harmful actions. We are aware that Scott used his position as a moderator of our community to leverage other science outreach opportunities with various organisations such as Hubble Space Telescope and the Space Telescope Science Institute. In an effort to prevent him from continuing to leverage our name, we issue this unequivocal statement denouncing his behavior.
Scott exploited our trust and his position of modest influence to take advantage of community members – you, the heart of this community; members of the moderation team; and others directly or indirectly associated with Science on Google+ – for his own personal and nefarious gain. In this circumstance as in our daily science and science communication, we feel a strong obligation to:
– Clarity, Transparency, and Openness
– and Support
As such, while being respectful of the privacy of the victims of this exploitation, we offer this post to ensure that everyone is aware of these events and we offer these resources to help any victims who have not yet come forward:
A. Because of the expanding scope of this situation, the volunteers who published the original article also launched an informal and private support network for victims. If you feel the need, if you have been victimized or can add your voice to the existing chorus of supporters, please visit the link at the top of this post and message the good folks who brought us awareness.
B. Please feel free to post in the Guidelines/Feedback to Mods section of our community, but NOTE THAT WE ARE NOT ABLE TO OFFER CONFIDENTIALITY IF YOU POST IN SCIENCE ON GOOGLE+.
C. Feel free to direct message any of the community moderators, but know that we are not professional counselors and will likely refer you to resources better equipped to provide assistance (some are linked in the original Medium article). We would also like to direct your attention to a well constructed guide that A.V. Flox recently put together regarding abuse and intervention. You can view the guide by clicking on the following link:
If you number among the victims, know that you did not bring this upon yourself and that you are not alone. We are, as always, here to help in whatever capacity we are able. You are why we built and maintain this community, and we very much want it to be a friendly, safe, and educational place to visit. We value you tremendously.