A University of New England professor has reached a settlement with the school over a 2016 lawsuit in which she said her department chairman retaliated against her after she accused him of sexual harassment.

Lara Carlson’s attorney and a spokeswoman for the University of New England confirmed Tuesday that a settlement had been reached, but both were unwilling to provide details of the agreement. Federal court documents also confirm that a settlement was reached, but the records do not provide any details.

Carlson was hired in 2009 and is an associate professor in the school’s Westbrook College of Health Professions in Biddeford. Carlson, who was awarded tenure in 2014, does research in motorsports physiology, such as analyzing the health challenges associated with competitive stock car racing.

Paul Visich is the chairman of the Exercise and Sport Performance Department, where he initially was Carlson’s supervisor. In her complaint, Carlson said Visich made inappropriate sexual comments to her, sent her inappropriate emails and touched her inappropriately in 2012. She said she notified the human resources department that fall but the school took no action.

In her lawsuit, Carlson said she suffered a series of professional consequences for her report over the next three years. Visich gave her a negative performance evaluation and removed her as head of a student college bowl team. Carlson also was removed from advising students and from teaching certain classes, including one she had developed. The college dean was appointed her supervisor, and she was transferred out of the Exercise and Sport Performance Department. Court documents show she was eventually placed in the Physical Therapy Department, where Carlson said she has fewer teaching opportunities.

In its response to the lawsuit, the school said that Carlson “unreasonably failed to take advantage of the corrective opportunities provided by UNE” or exhaust her administrative remedies.


Carlson filed a complaint with the Maine Human Rights Commission in November 2014. She requested a right-to-sue letter before the commission released a final statement, and received it in November 2015.

A federal appeals court cleared the path for Carlson’s lawsuit against UNE in August.

On Tuesday, Carlson’s attorney said he couldn’t provide details about the settlement other than to say that his client was looking forward to putting the episode behind her.

“I can tell you the Dr. Carlson and the University of New England have reached a mutually agreeable resolution that is fair and reasonable and allows both parties to move forward,” Carlson’s Portland-based attorney, David Kreisler, said in an email.

In a follow-up interview, Kreisler said he was not allowed to discuss terms of the settlement. UNE spokeswoman Sarah Delage echoed Kreisler’s statement.

“I can confirm that UNE and Dr. Carlson have reached a mutually agreeable solution in this case that will allow both parties to move forward,” Delage said in an email.


Besides its campus in Biddeford, the University of New England also operates campuses in Portland and Tangier, Morocco.

Staff Writer Megan Gray contributed to this report.

Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at:


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.