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San Jose State to pay $1.6M to female athletes in sexual harassment case

San Jose State to pay $1.6M to female athletes in sexual harassment case
The Department of Justice building is seen in Washington, D.C. The department said Tuesday that reports of misconduct had been made as far back as 2009. File Photo by Roger L. Wollenberg/UPI | License Photo

Sept. 22 (UPI) -- Federal prosecutors and San Jose State University in Northern California have agreed to a $1.6 million settlement for more than a dozen female student-athletes who said they were sexually harassed by a former trainer.

A 14-page letter sent by the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division to California's state university system said that the school failed to address the reports for more than a decade and violated Title IX laws against sex-based discrimination.

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The department said reports of misconduct had been made as far back as 2009.

The letter also stated that the university retaliated against employees who opposed the conduct of a former athletic trainer by issuing negative performance reviews and wrongful terminations.

The department said nearly two dozen student-athletes reported inappropriate touching and 13 accepted a payment of $125,000 each.

The accused trainer retired last year as the university's director of sports medicine.

The Justice Department also found that the university didn't employ a full-time Title IX coordinator, as required by law, until 2015. Between 2018 and this year, the position was held by four different people, with some only serving on an interim basis, officials said.

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The department said some students were confused about the complaint process and the Title IX coordinator wasn't always aware of serious issues.

Officials said San Jose State University is working to fix the issues identified by investigators.

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