But he maintains he has a case if only 30 percent of what he believes happened actually did. I’ll be able to look myself in the mirror and have my kids look at me.”For Gruenfeld—who has been cited by Malcolm Gladwell; who tutored Sheryl Sandberg on gender issues (and sits on the board of Lean In, the nonprofit foundation connected to Sandberg’s best-selling book of the same name); and who sold her own book, , at auction last fall for nearly a million dollars—questions of credibility are equally crucial.

Phills had also come to believe that, with Saloner, the co-author of a textbook on strategy, now egging her on, the normally diffident and indecisive Gruenfeld had suddenly grown more aggressive, even ruthless, in their ongoing divorce and custody disputes.“You are being too rational and generous,” Saloner—sometimes posing as “Jeni Gee” on Facebook—had counseled her at one point. Indeed, the technophobic Gruenfeld continued to use Phills as her personal Genius Bar even after she’d taken up with Saloner. The dean and the university have filed a counterclaim against Phills over it, which has been appended to the lawsuit Phills filed against Saloner and Stanford for unspecified monetary damages for discrimination based on race, gender, and marital status, as well as for wrongful termination and intentional infliction of emotional distress, on April 2, 2014—the day before Stanford fired him.

“Spewing the anger that you feel, even if it is unrelated to what you want, would make you a less predictable and rational adversary.” Telling Phills what she thought of him, he advised, would “push him back like a right to the jaw.” At regular intervals, he bucked her up. (In her deposition, Gruenfeld denied sharing her passwords with Phills.) Only too late did she realize how much more difficult it has become these days to disentangle from someone electronically than emotionally. Phills’s head, it has turned out, was not the biggest one to roll.

Yet Stanford says it’s serious about discouraging sexual harassment—its regulations on the subject fill seven single-spaced pages—and Saloner himself said it would not be tolerated on his watch.

“Are we doing everything we can to build a culture of mutual respect, a culture in which we behave in private in such a way that we will not be ashamed if our actions come into the public eye? “That training [on sexual harassment] is crystal-clear about our obligations,” says Charles O’Reilly III, who teaches leadership and organizational behavior at the business school.

Had Ed worked there, she explained, he’d have had to cede all decisions regarding Melissa to a higher-up as soon as things turned sexual between them. By the time of the seminar, the dean of the business school, Garth Saloner, had been involved with Phills’s estranged wife, Deborah Gruenfeld, a social psychologist and professor of organizational behavior there, for more than a year.

But even before it was time for questions, Phills was sufficiently skeptical to butt in. There was more laughter.“And your expectation would be that the provost or the general counsel, if something like this were to happen, Stanford would be concerned? And while Saloner had ostensibly removed himself from all decisions involving either Phills or Gruenfeld, Phills believed Saloner had remained enmeshed in his affairs, penalizing him professionally and injecting himself into his divorce and custody battles, all to drive him out of Stanford. For three months in the summer and fall of 2012, as the incipient romance between Saloner and Gruenfeld developed, Phills, either sitting at his home computer or manning one of his other electronic devices—including, in one key instance, playing with the cell phone his wife had asked him to fix—had monitored and preserved the e-mails, text messages, and Facebook chats between the two.

“So the policy that Stanford has actually says that where such a recusal is required you must notify your supervisor, department chair, or dean,” he said. ”“If the person who is involved is a dean, you should go straight to the provost,” the lawyer replied. He’d followed their first walk together, and their first drinks, and their first date, and their first intimacies, real and cyber, fumbled and consummated.

“And we will let the deans that are here know that,” she added, prompting scattered laughs from the crowd. And all of this unfolded as he believed the Stanford Graduate School of Business (G. B.) was slowly squeezing him out, denying him crucial and lucrative teaching assignments and, by calling for a 0,000 loan to be repaid within less than a year, attempting to force him out of his house on the Stanford campus. Can you drive this process home now while you have momentum? I didn’t know how to unhook myself.” Earlier, in a text exchange later produced under court order, she and Saloner had chatted about the problem. Saloner: Only a truly awful human being, the lowest of the low, would snoop on private conversations and then use them as blackmail....

“I had e-mails to worry about,” Gruenfeld testified this past June. This September, after Poets & Quants, a Web site specializing in business-school news and gossip, prepared to post a story on the case, Saloner abruptly announced his decision to step down as head of what ranks as the top business school in the country. (Gruenfeld had sat on the search committee that originally recommended him.) The provost re-upped him despite a petition signed by 46 former and current administrators and staffers at the school complaining that Saloner led by “personal agendas, favoritism and fear.”In his resignation statement, Saloner—who’d long coveted the business-school post, which might well have served him as a springboard to the soon-to-be-vacated Stanford presidency—insisted he’d done nothing wrong.

The shocking move came only a year after Etchemendy had re-appointed Saloner, the G. Even so, he did not want “a baseless and protracted lawsuit related to a contentious divorce” to distract from the business school’s business. for 15 years, was never a tenured superstar with an endowed chair like his wife.

She resumed her talk, but before long Phills was at her again. He knew that Saloner had disclosed the fledgling relationship to one of the main authors of the university’s harassment policy, Provost John Etchemendy, as the regulations had required, but doubted whether the dean had done so in a timely fashion or had been fully candid with him when he did. ”Phills says that his monitoring wasn’t hacking but simple self-protection. And whether or just how much his boss, motivated by his ardor for Phills’s wife, had it in for him surely mattered. Gruenfeld: I am sorry I did not change my facebook [sic] password when we started dating. The depravity and lack of conscience is [For Saloner, that was mild.