SAN JOSE, Calif. — San Jose State University has agreed to pay $1.6 million to 13 female student-athletes whose complaints about being sexually assaulted by an athletic trainer were mishandled by the university, federal prosecutors said Tuesday.
The payment is part of an agreement between the university and the U.S. Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. This investigation found that the university failed to respond adequately to sexual harassment and assault reports that began in 2009,, exposing more student-athletes for over a decade.
Federal investigation also found that the university retaliated against 2 employees, including one of those who alerted school officials repeatedly about the trainer. Federal prosecutors stated that female swimmers claimed that he repeatedly touched their breasts, groins and pubic area during campus training.
“This agreement will provide relief for survivors and transform San Jose State University’s Title IX process in order to ensure accountability in its athletics programs and make campus safer for all students,” stated Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke, of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.
University officials stated that they fully cooperated with the Department of Justice’s investigation and that federal prosecutors’ findings are similar to the results of an earlier, external investigation in 2019 by the university into the allegations against Scott Shaw, former Director of Sports Medicine.
Both investigations identified 23 student-athletes who were inappropriately touched by Shaw but of those, only 13 have accepted to receive $125,000 each, the university said.
” We thank all those who bravely spoke up during the investigation. Officials from the university released a statement expressing deep regret to the families and students affected by the scandal.
In April Mary Papazian (president of San Jose State University) stated in a campuswide email to students, faculty, and staff , that an external investigation had found the allegations to be true and that new allegations were made during the course of the investigation. After allegations that he inappropriately touched swimmers in physical therapy,
Shaw quit last year. He denied any misconduct and has not been charged with any criminal offenses. Lori Jeanne Costanzo (HTM0_ Shaw) didn’t return a call for comment. The university will also have to implement major reforms in order to address sexual harassment complaints. It will strengthen its Title IX office and train student-athletes as well as university employees to give and receive consent before medical treatment. They will also be required to support former student-athletes who were harmed by their athletic trainer. The university stated that it has already restructured the Title IX office and added Title IX experts in gender equity. It also launched a new chaperone program which will allow students and staff to request a chaperone for any type sports medicine treatment.
San Jose State stated that it was looking forward to working with the Department of Justice in order to strengthen its Title IX program.
” “The safety and health of our campus community is our highest priority,” the university stated. “We will continue to learn from the past so we never repeat it.”