Content warning: This article contains the use of graphic sexual language.
Update 12/6: This story has been updated to include a statement from Chen’s lawyer.
Peter Chen, professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the University of Michigan, was found not guilty of first-degree criminal sexual conduct Monday afternoon at the Washtenaw County 22nd Circuit Court.
The jury trial, which began last Monday, heard testimony from Chen’s accuser and other witnesses close to the accuser. Other witnesses spoke to the investigation into the allegations against Chen. The jurors unanimously delivered a not guilty verdict after deliberating since Friday.
The allegations leveled against Chen included several instances of sexual penetration of a person under the age of 13. According to the register of actions, the assaults allegedly began on April 1, 2017.
Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Amy Reiser told The Michigan Daily she cannot appeal the decision due to constitutional prohibitions on double jeopardy. Reiser said the verdict is disappointing, but the prosecution respects the jury’s decision.
On Tuesday, attorney Mariell Lehman, who represented Chen, sent a statement to The Daily on his behalf.
“Mr. Chen is pleased with the jury’s verdict,” Lehman wrote. “The jury paid close attention to the evidence that was presented during the trial and came to the right result. Mr. Chen would like to thank the numerous friends and family that have been with him during this difficult time.”
In an email to The Daily, University spokesperson Rick Fitzgerald said the University would reach out to Chen about his position.
“We are aware that U-M Professor Peter Chen was found not guilty today in Washtenaw County Circuit Court,” Fitzgerald wrote. “The university respects the outcome of the trial and will reach out to Professor Chen to consider next steps. He remains on paid administrative leave.”
This is a developing story and will be updated.
Managing News Editor Kristina Zheng and Daily Staff Reporter Irena Li can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.