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Harvard Law professor Charles Ogletree found after police search

Charles OgletreeCambridge Police Department

Charles Ogletree, the 66-year-old renowned Harvard Law professor, activist, and author who has Alzheimer’s disease, was found in Boston after authorities solicited the public’s help in searching for him.

Cambridge police said Tuesday night that Ogletree was last seen at his Pemberton Street home at about 5:40 p.m. But in a tweet at about 11:45 p.m., the department said Ogletree was found in Boston, and that officers were “in the process of bringing him back to Cambridge.”

Harvard Law School describes Ogletree as “a prominent legal theorist who has made an international reputation by taking a hard look at complex issues of law and by working to secure the rights guaranteed by the Constitution for everyone equally under the law.”


Ogletree went public with his Alzheimer’s diagnosis in 2016.

“You have to fight it; you have to address it,” he said at the time.

Ogletree founded the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice at Harvard Law School, and taught law to Barack and Michelle Obama, among many others, during three decades at the law school.

The former president has spoken of Ogletree as a source of inspiration to him. Obama released a statement expressing sadness in the wake of the Alzheimer’s diagnosis, calling Ogletree “a dear friend and mentor.”

Ogletree’s clients have included rapper Tupac Shakur and law professor Anita Hill, whom he represented when she accused Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment during Thomas’s 1991 Supreme Court confirmation hearings.

Ogletree is no longer actively teaching, according to the law school.

In 2017, hundreds gathered for a celebration of his life and career. According to The Harvard Gazette, former Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick was among those to praise him at the event, saying, “I look at my colleagues on this panel, and every one of them has, at key points, not only in their lives but in the lives of our communities and our nation, stood up and stood for something. And each of them, each of us has derived some strength from the example of Charles Ogletree.”


Globe correspondent Jermey C. Fox contributed to this report. Danny McDonald can be reached at daniel.mcdonald@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @Danny__McDonald.