(ATHENS, Ga.) — A respected University of Georgia professor snared in a prostitution sting is allowed to keep his job, at least for now.
After Max Reinhart, a German literature professor at UGA since 1988, listed his phone number in the transsexual escort services section of Backpage.com, Gwinnett County police arranged to meet him at a motel room Reinhart had rented in Norcross. Dressed as a woman and going by the name “Sasha,” Reinhart offered an undercover detective $60 for half an hour’s worth of services. But as soon as the money changed hands, officers arrested Reinhart, police spokesman Cpl. Jake Smith said.
Reinhart, 65, faces up to a year in jail for misdemeanor charges of prostitution and keeping a house of prostitution, but for now, he can keep his UGA professorship.
Rather than go through the costly tenure revocation process necessary to fire Reinhart, who has held tenure since 1994, the university struck a deal. Under an agreement reached a week ago between Reinhart’s attorney and attorneys for the University System of Georgia, UGA will keep Reinhart on its payroll until next May, although he will not be allowed to teach, UGA spokesman Pete Konenkamp said. In exchange, Reinhart will not sue the university for any reason.
“[Reinhart] will not re-enter the classroom, and he will not teach in any capacity,” Konenkamp said. “He will be allowed to continue the research he has already been doing until he resigns in May 2013.”
Konenkamp said the agreement with Reinhart will stand “no matter what” the outcome of Reinhart’s trial at Gwinnett County Magistrate Court, which is not yet scheduled.
Calling the actions that led to his arrest a “temporary meltdown,” Reinhart told ABC News Friday that the university has treated him “fairly and kindly,” and that he has received an outpouring of support from students and faculty members.
“Under the circumstances, I hold no grudges,” Reinhart said. “I’m devastated by the whole thing, as are a lot of people. I admire my university for doing what they’re able to do.”
Martin Kagel, the head of the department, told the Red & Black, UGA’s student newspaper, that Reinhart is a “respected and valued colleague.”
An author and editor of eight books, Reinhart is an expert on early modern Germany. Until UGA barred him from the classroom, he was scheduled to teach a course this fall on the influence of Islam on the German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, according to the school’s Germanic and Slavic Studies department website.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Ray Sanchez, CNN
Ray Sanchez, CNN
Seth Fiegerman, CNN