SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) – The President of San Jose State University on Thursday apologized to women who claimed they were groped by the school’s former exercise coach, saying an investigation found sexual misconduct.
Mary Papazian apologized for “this breach of trust” in a campus-wide letter to students, faculties, and staff.
“I am determined that we will learn from the past and never repeat it,” she said.
Scott Shaw, the director of the University of Sports Medicine, resigned in August on allegations of inappropriately touching 17 swimmers during physical therapy from 2006 to 2009.
Shaw has denied wrongdoing and no criminal charges have been filed. An email to Scott Shaw’s attorney Lori Jeanne Costanzo asking for comment Thursday was not immediately returned.
In her letter, however, Papazian said an investigation launched in 2019 found the allegations “well founded, as were recent allegations made in the course of the investigation.”
These later allegations emerged after 2017, according to a summary of the investigation, in which the investigation found that Shaw “committed sexual harassment and sexual misconduct”.
“The investigator concluded that the conduct in question violated the university’s guidelines at the time of the conduct,” said Papazian’s letter.
There are also questions about whether the original 2009 campus investigation into the found no wrongdoing was properly conducted. An outside investigator will conduct this review, Papazian said.
The handling of the 2009 investigation is also reportedly under federal control.
Papazian also said the university is working to improve sexual assault prevention education programs and allocate more resources to victims, including providing a full-time attorney for “survivors on campus.”
In addition, a new guideline for sports medicine professionals will be introduced by the fall, she said.
Papazian’s letter came a day after faculty union members emailed California State University Chancellor Joseph I. Castro alleging that San Jose state had been covering up sexual abuse scandals, the Bay Area reported News Group.
“The San Jose State public recognition that sexual harassment has occurred is an extremely important step,” Shounak S. Dharap, an attorney who represents at least 10 former San Jose State athletes, told the newsgroup. “That doesn’t negate what happened. And the more than 10 years in which our customers and many survivors have suffered trauma as a result of what happened will certainly not be pushed back. “