A prominent University of Minnesota professor and arctic explorer violently attacked his fiancé during a late-night argument, leaving her fearing for her life, according to criminal charges filed Thursday.
Aaron H. Doering, 47, a tenured professor, was charged in Hennepin County District Court with two felony counts of domestic assault by strangulation. He remains jailed in lieu of $40,000 bail.
According to the criminal complaint, officers responded to a reported domestic assault in progress on Wednesday night at an apartment the couple shares in the 1700 block of Madison Street NE. in Minneapolis.
When police approached the door, they heard a man and woman arguing inside. Upon entering, officers separated Doering and his fiancé, who had red marks on her forehead and bruising in the shape of fingers on one side of her neck.
The woman told authorities that during the course of an argument, Doering had grabbed her by the hair and dragged her through the apartment. He later beat and choked her until she was unable to breathe and felt as if she’d lose consciousness, court records show.
She alleged it was not the first time Doering had physically assaulted her and provided pictures documenting prior injuries. “Victim believes [Doering] will kill her if he returns to the apartment,” according to the criminal complaint.
A university spokeswoman said Thursday evening that Doering’s employment status with the school has not changed. “We’re aware of the situation, and will be reviewing the matter,” said Lacey Nygard, assistant director of public relations.
Doering, of Minneapolis, is a national speaker on climate change and a Canadian arctic explorer whose projects have led him from Siberia, Nepal and Burkina Faso to the northern reaches of Norway.
His expeditions landed him at the forefront of adventure learning, through which he works to connect K-12 and adult learners to far-flung locales. As director of the Learning Technologies Media Lab at the U, Doering uses technology like drones to give students a glimpse into issues of sustainability, culture and the environment.
He is also a Royal Canadian Geographical Society fellow who is regularly interviewed by CNN, the Weather Channel and other media outlets.
Doering will make a first court appearance related to the case Friday.