OUS employee resigns after sexual allegations

Published 9:13 am Wednesday, September 26, 2018

An Ohio University Southern employee resigned in May after an investigation into sexual remarks and non-consensual touching by the manager.

The initial report was taken in February and an investigation was done by Ohio University’s office of Equity and Civil Rights Compliance on the Athens campus.

The report was released to The Tribune with parts redacted as to not identify those involved.

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Two female student workers, referred to as complainants in the report, alleged that their male manager, referred to as respondent, made numerous unwanted sexual comments, commented on their body parts on numerous occasions, touched one of the complainants body and hugged them after making inappropriate comments. On some occasions, a witness saw the man’s actions or comments. The harassment occurred during the fall semester of 2017.

On Feb. 22, the university notified the manager that he was a respondent in multiple complaints filed with the Ohio University Office of Equity and Civil Rights. He was notified that he was on paid administrative leave “pending the outcome of an investigation involving allegations of inappropriate conduct and violations of university policy.”

The man was allowed to continue to attend a regularly-scheduled class but could not be on campus more than 30 minutes before or after the class and was not allowed on campus for any other reason except for meetings with OU officials.

He was also ordered to “have no contact, direct or indirect, physical, verbal or electronic, with the complainants, witnesses, or other individuals associated with the pending investigation” and was told that if he came into contact with one of the complainants or witnesses, he was “to remove yourself from the situation and avoid contact.”

The investigation was completed in April and the manager resigned the next month.

The report stated that “the allegation that respondent engaged in sexual harassment by hostile environment is substantiated. The allegation that respondent engaged in non-consensual sexual contact is substantiated. The allegation that Respondent harassed  Complainants based on their sex in violation of University Policy 40.001 is substantiated.”

An allegation that the manager asked for favors in return for more hours was not substantiated because he did not make the work schedule.

On May 11, the man received a notice that his “department has requested you be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination. This action is being requested in response to a recent investigation conducted by University Equity and Civil Rights Compliance (ECRC) in which there were findings of violations of Ohio University Policies #03-004-Sexual Misconduct, Relationship Violence, and Stalking and #40.001-Equal Employment and Education Opportunity.”

A meeting on the subject was scheduled for May 16. The man turned in a letter of resignation on May 17.

Ohio University released a statement on the investigation that “While we do not typically comment on individual cases, Ohio University takes all allegations of sexual misconduct very seriously and investigates these matters thoroughly. The personal safety and welfare of our students and the campus community are our top priorities, and equitable measures are taken to ensure any and all complaints are handled appropriately.”

Ironton Police detective Captain Joe Ross said that his office was informed of the situation on Feb. 24, but were informed by the Athens Police Department that the victims didn’t want to file criminal charges.

“So, there are no criminal charges or reports, because no one came forward to file anything at that time,” Ross said. “In order to have a report or charges, we have to have someone to file a complaint.”