San José State University’s former director of sports medicine is charged with violating the civil rights of four female athletes he is accused of inappropriately touching under the guise of treatment, federal officials said Thursday.
Scott Shaw, 54, allegedly committed sexual misconduct against the student-athletes between 2017 and 2020, according to a statement from the U.S. Department of Justice.
Shaw touched the athletes’ breasts and buttocks “without their consent and without a legitimate purpose,” officials said.
Shaw faces six counts of misdemeanor deprivation of rights under color of law, according to court records filed Thursday in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
He worked at the state college from 2006 to 2020, where he was also the head athletic trainer, the court filing said.
He faces a maximum of six years in prison if convicted on all counts, officials said. Shaw is expected to appear in U.S. District Court in San José on Tuesday, per the court filing.
Neither Shaw or his attorney could be reached for comment Friday.
San José State University commended the student-athletes who spoke out in a statement Thursday.
“San José State University (SJSU) continues to be grateful for the student-athletes who came forward to share their painful stories. Their bravery and resilience are commendable, and we hope that with the charges today, they are one step closer to justice.”
The federal charges come after earlier allegations of sexual assault from more than a dozen female swimmers who accused Shaw of inappropriately touching them during physical therapy from 2006 to 2009.
The university investigated and cleared Shaw of all wrongdoing in 2010, saying the claims of improper touching were not substantiated and were in fact “bona fide means of treating muscle injury.” Shaw denied any misconduct, continued to work at SJSU and no criminal charges were filed against him.
The school launched a second investigation in 2019, undertaken by an external law firm, after a swimming coach alerted school officials of more alleged misconduct. The probe ended in February of last year and found “all of the allegations were substantiated … and that Shaw engaged in sexual harassment and sexual misconduct.”
Shaw resigned from SJSU in 2020 before the conclusion of the investigation.
Federal prosecutors in September found that the university had failed to adequately respond to reports of sexual misconduct against Shaw even though complaints had been reported for years.
San Jose State agreed to pay $1.6 million to 13 female student-athletes as part of a settlement announced in September between the university, the U.S. Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California.
Antonio Planas is a breaking news reporter for NBC News Digital.