I just read an article in Slate that hits home as a former grad student with a former supervisor that is infamous for his lechery. I find myself a highly educated person without a reference because of the very reasons outlined in the article;
“Let’s say, Fehr proposes, a woman whose adviser has a reputation for dalliances with students goes out on the job market. “People ask, with a wink and a nod, what it was like getting that letter of recommendation.” If, the next year, she leaves his letter out, she’s then “asked why the famous professor was not writing for her. Her professor’s behavior,” Fehr explains, has “put her in a position where she just couldn’t win.””
His actions not only damaged the students with whom he had relationships but also the peripherals whom received a lot less academic support and attention than his ‘favoured’ students and the stigma that something must have happened. This stigma attached to your academic experience also reflects how much of an open secret his behaviour has been and how many people chose to step aside and say nothing to stop it or protect students.