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Former SJS Sports Med Director Responsible for Abuse

Paul Steinbach

A California State University System Title IX investigation has found that former San Jose State University sports medicine director Scott Shaw is responsible for at least five cases of sexual abuse against female athletes.

As reported by USA Today, Shaw resigned in August amid reports he sexually abused female athletes more than a decade ago. There were at least 10 investigations in all — one for each complainant. The investigations, conducted by private attorneys under CSUS supervision, determined that Shaw’s physical therapy treatments lacked medical basis, ignored proper protocols and violated the system’s sexual harassment policies.

Shounak Dharap, an attorney who represents some of the athletes, told USA TODAY on Friday he was aware of at least five that have resulted in findings of responsibility, adding that he expected to receive more. These first findings were issued Friday morning in separate letters to the five women.

"There was an overwhelming sense of relief," said former swimmer Linzy Warkentin, one of the five athletes, who first reported Shaw's conduct to the school in 2009. "We had tears and laughs. Tonight there will be celebratory drinks. We have been waiting for this for over a year and finally we are officially acknowledged."

USA Today first went public with the allegations against Shaw in April. Reporters interviewed four of the 17 swimming and diving athletes who in 2009 said Shaw touched them inappropriately, as well as a water polo athlete and a gymnastics athlete who competed around that time and described similar touching by Shaw.

The university had reviewed the swimmers’ allegations in 2010 but cleared Shaw of wrongdoing, saying that his treatments — which he’d described to the athletes as “pressure point” or “trigger point” therapy — constituted a scientific and accepted method of treatment for muscle injuries, USA Today reported, adding that Shaw was never disciplined, arrested or charged, and he remained in his position as sports medicine director for the next 10 years, during which time he continued to treat female athletes.

The CSU System began its investigation in December 2019, after San Jose State women’s swim coach Sage Hopkins re-reported the allegations.

Shaw came to San Jose State in 2006 and took over as its director of sports medicine in 2008, a position he held until his departure in August.

In a statement to USA TodaySan Jose State spokesperson Christine Hutchins said the university will review the findings, which she said are not final until the appeals process has concluded. In the meantime, she said, the university is contacting those who were involved in the investigation to provide supportive services and help them obtain resources.

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