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San José State Settles Sexual Abuse Case

The state of San Jose announced that it had reached a $ 3.3 million deal with 15 former student athletes who were allegedly sexually harassed by a longtime athletic trainer.

The payment follows a federal civil rights investigation that found that the state of San Jose had failed to take adequate action in response to athlete reports and retaliated against two employees who disclosed to the college of their concerns repeated to Scott Shaw, the former coach and director of sports medicine.

The allegations against Shaw date back to December 2009, when several female student athletes reported that the coach touched their breasts, groins, buttocks and / or pubic areas during treatment which they had described as “point therapy.” trigger ”or“ pressure points ”. therapy, ”according to a report released in September by the US Department of Justice. Former US gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar has been charged with similar abuse.

As recently as February 2020, a student alleged improper touching from Shaw, but he continued to work at the university until his retirement in August 2020.

Shaw’s attorney could not be reached immediately for comment. He previously denied the allegations, according to several news outlets.

The Justice Department said the actions of administrators allowing Shaw to continue working a decade after the first reports of abuse brought the university in violation of Title IX, a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of on sex in any federally funded education program. As part of the settlement of the federal lawsuit, the state of San Jose agreed in September to reorganize its Title IX office, revise its process for responding to sexual harassment complaints, and pay $ 1.6 million to 13 female athletes.

The settlement left the door open for other victims who may come forward later or accept the offer late. At the time, 23 victims had been identified.

The second separate private settlement announced on Friday will go to 15 additional accusers.

“Through this process, these brave young women have inspired change and given the courage to other students across the country to speak out and report incidents through all available channels,” said Shounak Dharap, an attorney. former student athletes, in a press release. “Their actions have resulted in institutional changes to ensure effective responses to allegations of sexual harassment at the university, which we hope will be adopted by other universities across the country. “

The San Jose State Department of Human Resources and campus police conducted an initial investigation in 2009 and 2010 and determined that there had been no wrongdoing. But last April, California State University’s system-wide Title IX compliance officer corroborated the 2009 allegations of improper touching and those that followed.

Looking at the lists from 2009 to the present, the Department of Justice estimates that approximately 1,000 female student athletes could have been exposed to treatment by the coach.

“We deeply apologize to our students and their families for the heartbreaking breach of trust they suffered,” SJSU President Mary Papazian said in a statement on Friday. “As a campus, we are making significant changes to improve the safety and well-being of our entire SJSU community to ensure that nothing like this happens again.”

Papazian previously announced his resignation from the state of San Jose, effective in December. Stephen Perez, president and vice president of academic affairs at Cal State Sacramento, has been named interim successor.

Times editor Colleen Shalby contributed to this report.

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