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San Jose State Athletic Trainer Resigns Amid Claims

Brock Fritz

A second investigation into sexual misconduct has led a longtime San Jose State University athletic trainer to resign.

USA Today, which conducted its own investigation into the situation earlier this year, learned earlier this week that former San Jose State athletic trainer Scott Shaw left the university in August. The director of sports medicine since 2008, Shaw told the athletic department Aug. 13 he was retiring. San Jose State officials told USA Today that Shaw, whose last day was Aug. 19, had resigned.

“While the university cannot initiate discipline against a respondent who is no longer employed, the procedures set forth in the CSU Executive Orders still apply,” California State University System spokesman Mike Uhlenkamp said, “and the investigation against Mr. Shaw is continuing despite his resignation.”

Shaw’s departure came nine months after San Jose State began reinvestigating decade-old allegations against the athletic trainer. The investigation stemmed from 17 former San Jose State swimming and diving athletes claiming Shaw touched them inappropriately.

Related content: San Jose State Reinvestigating Athletic Trainer Case

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.” However, San Jose State’s sports medicine policies no longer allow the treatment Shaw allegedly did without explicit consent and the presence of a chaperone. 

No complaints have been made against Shaw since 2009. However, swim coach Sage Hopkins, who originally notified campus police of the claims, 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.

Along with the document, four former swimmers told USA Today that Shaw touched their breasts or groins while conducting trigger-point therapy away from the site of their pain. They said Shaw the only trainer who performed that type of massage, which entails applying pressure to various points in the body to relieve pain in other areas. 

“I don’t think that that was the one thing that had to be done in order to help us heal or recover,” said Linzy Warkentin, one of the original complainants. “And I’m pretty sure it would have been the same outcome if it was on top of my bra.”

Shaw declined to comment for the April USA Today article, but his attorney, Lori Costanzo, wrote in a cease-and-desist letter that “San Jose State University made a thorough and complete investigation into one allegation made against Mr. Shaw 11 years ago. The matter was promptly dropped with no further action taken against Mr. Shaw. In fact, Mr. Shaw continued to work in his current role, without consequence, to the present.”

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