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Ex-San Jose State Athletes Seek Damages Over Abuse

Brock Fritz

Former San Jose State University athletes are seeking more than $10,000 in damages from the California State University System due to what they allege was the system being deliberately indifferent to sexual abuse, harassment and discrimination.

According to USA Today, 10 former female athletes allege that San Jose State employees knew of a pattern of abuse from Scott Shaw, who resigned from the role of director of sports medicine in August. In tort claims filed last week, the ex-athletes allege that the California State University System was deliberately indifferent to the risk of sexual abuse.

“The outcome of San Jose State University’s Title IX investigation is an important first step towards justice for our clients,” said Shounak Dharap, an attorney for the women, said in a statement. "These young women trusted SJSU to protect them and act in their best interests. The findings of the investigation demonstrate the opposite. SJSU had a known systemic problem regarding sexual assault of athletes and students by its employees, including Scott Shaw.”

USA Today reports that California tort claims give a public agency 45 days to investigate and potentially settle before a lawsuit is filed. The women allege that CSU was deliberately indifferent to the risk of sexual abuse while violating federal and state laws, including Title IX.

A CSU Title IX investigation that concluded last month found that Shaw’s physical therapy treatments lacked medical basis.

Related content: San Jose State Reinvestigating Athletic Trainer Case

Last April, USA Today reported that San Jose State was reinvestigating Shaw, who became SJSU’s director of sports medicine in 2008. Shaw allegedly touched female athletes’ breasts beneath their undergarments, and massaged their breasts and pelvic areas when they were seeking treatment for other body parts. A San Jose State investigation launched in 2009 and completed in 2010 cleared Shaw of wrongdoing, concluding “Trigger Point Therapy was a bona fide and accepted method of treatment.”

That investigation was reopened last year, after swim coach Sage Hopkins sent a 300-page file of student-athletes’ accounts to the San Jose State Title IX office in 2018. USA Today also reported that Hopkins circulated the document among university, Mountain West Conferences and NCAA officials.

Related content: San Jose State Athletic Trainer Resigns Amid Claims

Related content: Lawsuit: Ex-Deputy AD Alleges San Jose State Cover-Up

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