san jose state

SJSU President Apologizes for ‘Breach of Trust' in Sexual Misconduct Case

University president finds allegations against a former athletic trainer were "substantiated"

NBC Bay Area

The president of San Jose State University apologized Thursday to women who allege they were groped by the school's former athletic trainer and said an investigation had substantiated sexual misconduct.

Mary Papazian apologized for “this breach of trust" in a campuswide letter to students, faculty and staff members.

“I am determined that we will learn from the past and never repeat it,” she said.

Scott Shaw, the university’s director of sports medicine, resigned in August amid allegations that from 2006 to 2009 he inappropriately touched 17 swimmers during physical therapy.

Shaw has denied misconduct, and no criminal charges have been filed. An email to Scott Shaw’s attorney, Lori Jeanne Costanzo, seeking comment Thursday wasn’t immediately returned.

But in her letter, Papazian said an investigation begun in 2019 found that the allegations “were substantiated, as were more recent allegations raised in the course of the investigation."

Those later allegations occurred after 2017, according to an executive summary of the investigation, which said the probe concluded that Shaw “engaged in sexual harassment and sexual misconduct."

“The investigator concluded that the conduct at issue violated the university’s policies in effect at the time of the conduct," Papazian's letter said.

There also are questions about whether the original 2009 campus investigation into the accusations, which found no wrongdoing, was properly conducted. An outside investigator will make that review, Papazian said.

The handling of the 2009 investigation reportedly also is under federal scrutiny.

Papazian also said the university is working on upgrading education programs for sexual assault prevention and providing more resources for victims, including providing a full-time “campus survivor advocate."

Also, a new sports medicine chaperone policy to be implemented by this fall, she said.

Papazian's letter came a day after members of the faculty union wrote an email to California State University Chancellor Joseph I. Castro to allege San Jose State had covered up sexual abuse scandals, the Bay Area News Group reported.

“San Jose State’s public acknowledgment that that sexual harassment happened is an extremely important step,” Shounak S. Dharap, a lawyer representing at least 10 former San Jose State athletes, told the news group. “That doesn’t negate what happened. And it certainly doesn’t roll back the 10-plus years that our clients and many survivors suffered trauma as a result of what happened.”

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