Esteemed University of Minnesota professor is sentenced for domestic assault

He had pleaded guilty to a gross misdemeanor earlier this year.
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Aaron Doering

A respected University of Minnesota professor will spend almost 6 months at a Hennepin County workhouse after admitting domestic assault.

Aaron Doering, 47, is a professor of learning technologies, a co-director of the U of M's LT Media Lab, and a noted climate change speaker and educator. 

He pleaded guilty in April to gross misdemeanor domestic assault by strangulation and violating a domestic abuse no-contact order.

He had initially been charged with a felony, but it was reduced to a gross misdemeanor in exchange for a guilty plea, with Doering sentenced to 365 days in the workhouse, of which he'll serve 180.

He won't have to serve the remaining 185 provided he successfully serves 2 years of probation, which includes undergoing alcohol addiction and mental health treatment.

Doering, who has tenure at the U of M, has been on administrative leave since the allegations against him became known. The university intimated that this leave will continue in a statement it sent to BMTN.

"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," a spokeswoman said.

"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."

According to the criminal charges against him, Minneapolis police officers arrived at his home in late December to respond to a "reported domestic assault-in-progress," and "could hear a male and female arguing inside."

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They found Doering and a woman identified only as "M.R." She told them that Doering had "grabbed her by the hair and dragged her around the apartment," slapped and hit her, and choked her to the point where she couldn't breathe and thought she would lose consciousness.

She also "reported her belief that Defendant would eventually kill her."

Officers at the scene noted red marks on the woman's forehead, and "bruising in the shape of fingers" on the left side of her neck.

The victim told police she'd been assaulted by Doering "several times" in the past, and had pictures of her previous injuries to prove it. 

As well as his work at the U of M and as a climate change speaker, Doering was also featured in “The Changing Earth,” an Emmy-nominated documentary "about a 137-mile trek through the Arctic wilderness into Iceland." 

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