SAN JOSE – A former San Jose State University athletic trainer was sentenced Tuesday to two years in federal prison for sexually abusing female athletes under the guise of providing medical treatment, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
In addition to the prison term, 56-year-old Scott Shaw, was ordered to serve one year of supervised release after he leaves prison as well as pay a $15,000 fine, prosecutors said in a news release. He must also pay restitution in an amount to be determined at a later date.
Shaw previously pleaded guilty to two counts of deprivation of rights under color of law.
As part of a plea agreement, Shaw admitted to violating the civil rights of four students who played on teams by touching their breasts and buttocks without their consent and without a legitimate medical purpose. The crimes happened between 2017 and 2020.
The plea deal struck in August came nearly two weeks after a federal jury deadlocked in tense deliberations, leading a judge to declare a mistrial. All but one or two jurors believed he was guilty on the original six charges he faced.
“This sentence should send a clear message that public school officials who exploit their positions of authority to sexually abuse and harass students will face serious consequences for their actions,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.
“The Justice Department will not tolerate violations of civil rights committed under the guise of legitimate medical treatment by those in positions of power and trust,” she said.
Shaw served as the university’s director of sports medicine and head athletic trainer from 2008 until August 2020. His duties included treating student-athlete injuries. He voluntarily left the university in 2020 and is collecting a state pension.
The sentence comes 14 years after 17 swimmers stepped forward with allegations that Shaw touched them inappropriately under their bras and underwear during treatment sessions. An internal investigation in 2010 by the university’s human resources department cleared Shaw, who was allowed to continue working on female athletes.
The scandal and the more recent allegations came to light in 2020 after swim coach Sage Hopkins took his years-long crusade to oust Shaw outside the university.
SJSU and the California State University System were forced to review the allegations, which led to resignations of the university president and athletic director as well as more than $5 million in legal settlements for more than two dozen victims.
The more recent allegations were the only ones to fall under the five-year statute of limitations.
Staff writer Julia Prodis Sulek contributed to this report. Check back for updates.