SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — San Jose State University has agreed to pay out $1.6 million to victims of a school athletic trainer who has been sexually assaulting female student athletes for over a decade, the Justice Department said.
SJSU did not properly respond to the allegations of sexual harassment and assault, according to an investigation by the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California.
The first reported accusation happened in 2009, when several athletes said the trainer “subjected them to repeated, unwelcome sexual touching of their breasts, groins, buttocks, and/or pubic areas during treatment in the campus training facilities,” the press release said.
In addition, their investigation found that two school employees faced retaliation by SJSU – one who tried reporting the athletic trainer and another who opposed retaliating against the reporting employee.
“With this agreement, San José State University will provide relief to survivors and transform its Title IX process to ensure accountability in its athletics program and create a safer campus for all its students,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “The Justice Department thanks the current and former students who came forward and shared their experiences, and the employees who unceasingly advocated for their students. Because of them, San José State University will adopt major reforms to prevent such an abuse of authority from happening ever again.”
The $1.6M payout will go to individuals who were sexually harassed by the athletic trainer and who came forward to participate in the department’s Title IX investigation or SJSU’s internal investigations, the department said.
Here’s what else SJSU agreed to in the settlement, according to the department:
- Improve SJSU’s process for responding to complaints of sexual harassment
- Provide adequate authority, independence, and resources to the Title IX Coordinator
- Publicize Title IX policies and protocols and develop user-friendly materials so everyone in the SJSU community knows how to report Title IX concerns
- Improve the policies and procedures of the SJSU Sports Medicine and Athletics Training Program to prevent sexual harassment by athletic trainers
- Deliver training to student-athletes and SJSU Athletics employees on giving and receiving informed consent for medical treatments and athletic training services
- Survey SJSU Athletics employees to assess their understanding of SJSU policies and identify barriers to reporting
- Take concrete steps to prevent retaliation under Title IX, including through training that provides clear examples of prohibited conduct
- Provide supportive measures and remedies to current and former student-athletes who were sexually harassed by the athletic trainer.
In a statement, SJSU said it “looks forward to partnering with the DOJ to build a stronger Title IX program.” The school identified the athletic trainer as former Director of Sports Medicine Scott Shaw.
“We will continue to learn from the past so we never repeat it,” the school said.