Update: Lori Handrahan Fired by American University

January 17th, 2013 by Robert Franklin, Esq.
Remember Lori Handrahan?  She’s the dangerous mother who managed for about two years to convince a family court in Maine that she really wasn’t crazy and her husband, Igor Malenko, was abusing their then four-year-old daughter.  Handrahan’s problem though is that she’s just too nutty to hold it together for long.  Her claims that Malenko had touched his daughter inappropriately soon morphed into claims of persistent sexual abuse.
 Those turned quickly into allegations of child rape, serial child rape and, in due course, into trafficking the little girl for sex.  Oh, and while he was doing all this, he somehow managed to get the girl hooked on methamphetamine.  The only problem with Handrahan’s increasingly unhinged stories was that there was no evidence for any of them.  Some 21 times she took the little girl to doctors demanding invasive examinations only to be told “Nope, you’re daughter is fine.”

Handrahan’s frustration at being found time and again to be a liar only led her to redouble her efforts.  Soon her imaginary world of child rapists and their conspirators expanded to include Malenko’s attorney against whom she brought a litany of ethics charges before the state authority that regulates the legal profession.  She struck out there too.  The State Bar gave Attorney Michael Waxman a clean bill of health and sent Handrahan on her increasingly frustrated way.

By then, the family court was starting to notice certain things.  One of course was that Handrahan’s claims of abuse were all made up by her for the purpose of keeping the girl’s father out of her life.  The judge also noticed that Handrahan had been diagnosed by one mental health expert as the worst case of narcissism she’d ever seen.  Then there was the fact that Handrahan routinely ignored the court’s orders including the one to stop posting nude photos of her daughter on the Internet.  The proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back was an incident at the child’s school in which Handrahan behaved so bizarrely and abusively toward her daughter (crushing her against a car in the pouring sleet while the child screamed to be allowed to go inside) that the daycare center workers who witnessed it were appalled enough to give affidavits to the court.

The judge, having finally seen the light, transferred custody to Malenko and his new wife where she resides happily to this day.  The judge was so impressed with Handrahan’s behavior that he conditioned any future visitation on her having engaged in a course of psychotherapy that resulted in a personality change.  For those who know about Lori Handrahan, it comes as no surprise that she’s done no such thing; she’s sought no help for her plainly pathological condition.  In her world, everyone’s wrong but her.  Although permitted to do so by the court, she’s also refused to have telephone contact with her daughter.  That’s been going on for almost two years now.

She’s also been ordered to pay child support to Malenko, but, despite being a highly paid university lecturer, she was, at least until recently, far behind on her payments.  Oh yes, and her years of harassment of Malenko netted him a civil judgment by a federal court in the amount of $750,000.

So what’s the latest?  Lori Handrahan has now been fired by American University at which she’d been a lecturer.  That’s two universities that have fired her to my knowledge.  Here’s the email to Handrahan of James Goldgeier, dean of the School of International Relations at American University.

Dear Lori,

Despite my repeated requests to minimize the impact of your personal affairs on campus, you continue to send communications to me and others at AU about non-AU related matters. Your persistent communications have convinced me that you and the University would benefit from releasing you from your employment obligations this semester. I hope that you can use the time to address your affairs.

We will provide you with your salary and benefits through the end of your current contract in May, but you will not have any employment responsibilities for the spring 2013 semester. Further we do not anticipate needing your services for the academic year 2013-2014.

Kindly vacate your office and return any keys and other university property to Alicia Cummings in the SIS Hub by 5:00 p.m., Friday, January 11, 2013.

I thank you for your service to American University and SIS, and I wish you the best in making a transition to other employment.


What were those “personal affairs” Handrahan found it impossible to keep from burdening campus staff with?  You don’t have to ask.  It’s her continuing fantasy world in which not only are her ex-husband and his wife trafficking their daughter for sex, but the State of Maine is doing the same thing.  That’s right, according to Handrahan, the State of Maine is in the business of selling little girls into white slavery.  Don’t forget, you read it here first!

But when you’re Lori Handrahan, there’s nothing too lurid, to out of the question to claim.  So she’s also claiming that Malenko’s attorney, Michael Waxman, is cyber-stalking her.  That’s probably because Waxman occasionally posts something to the effect of how out to lunch Handrahan is.  Or maybe it’s because he wants her to pay her child support.  Or maybe it’s because he has a judgement against her that he’s determined to make her pay.  Who knows?  But in Handrahan’s twisted world, whatever is happening, she’s the victim of a vast conspiracy.

And of course, when you’re targeted by a conspiracy that only you can see, you have to get as many people involved as you can, and that means faculty and students at American University.  It also meant the FBI, the local police and campus security, none of whom managed to conclude that what anyone was doing vis a vis Lori Handrahan constituted a crime.  I assume Handrahan now believes that they’re all part of the conspiracy as well as the State of Maine and who knows who else.

Whatever the case, all of that added up to a giant pain in the butt for the university, I’m certain, but Goldgeier’s dismissal email smells to me more like an excuse than a reason.  Yes, she involved university personnel in her private life and yes she continued to do so after being warned not to.  But I think there’s something more that led the University to fire Handrahan.  My guess is that the administration took a look at her behavior and her past and concluded (a) the family court was right – she really is narcissistic and abusive and (b) it’s only a matter of time before members of the faculty and administration get caught up in her lies and imaginings.  So they cut her loose.

Now, if you’re like me, you’ve wondered in the past about just why a reputable institution like American University would hire someone like Handrahan in the first place.  I don’t have the answer to that one, but I’m certain her employment options just got a lot narrower.  That makes her a middle-aged woman without a partner, without a child and without a job.  When a person like that is also a narcissist, she can only do one thing – blame someone else for her own wretched circumstances.  I think some people in Maine would do well to watch their backs.

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