An Indiana professor who specializes in "positive emotions" and "parental involvement" has been accused of beating his wife with a wooden chair leg in front of their child who was locked in a dog cage.
Purdue University Assistant Professor John Froiland was arrested on November 10, Fox59 reported.
According to police, Froiland's wife returned from a shopping trip around 4:30 PM when she was accosted by her husband, who held her against a wall, demanding to know where she had been all day.
He then allegedly locked their 10-year-old son in a dog cage, broke a leg off a wooden rocking chair and began beating his wife. She was able to break free and run away, grabbing the child and her phone, before fleeing the house and calling for help.
Tippecanoe Chief Deputy Sheriff Terry Ruley said that when officers arrived at the neutral location away from the home, they found the victim with her arms covered in welts and bruises.
Froiland faced preliminary charges of domestic battery, intimidation, interference in reporting a crime, criminal confinement, among others. He was later released on a $500 bond and issued a 10-day non-contact order.
Froiland has been employed as a Clinical Assistant Professor at Purdue University since August 2017; officials confirmed he has been placed on administrative leave. He is banned from returning to the campus.
According to his university profile, Froiland's field of expertise includes "parental autonomy and relatedness support, parent involvement from preschool to high school, teacher-student relationships, intrinsic motivation to learn, student engagement, happiness, and positive psychology interventions."
"He has developed an intervention that strengthens autonomy supportive parent-child communication, positive emotions toward learning, and intrinsic motivation to learn among elementary school students. He has also developed a comprehensive positive psychology intervention that supports the development of lifetime gratitude and positive emotions toward learning among college students."
Froiland has published dozens of journal articles and papers on positive psychology, and frequently gives media interviews on the subject.
Upon learning of the allegations, his students told the Purdue Exponent they were "Irritated", "Angry", and "Disgusted".
"None of us could possibly have imagined that something like this might have happened," fellow professor Ala Samarapungavan told the outlet. "If any of us would have seen anything, we would have reported it right away."
"He's worked here for many years. This was not expected," another professor, Helen Patrick, added. "Nothing gave us the slightest pause to even wonder."