Iowa reviewing sex harassment case

University of Iowa President Sally Mason said Tuesday she is

reviewing the school’s handling of an athletics department official

who resigned after being accused of improperly touching student

athletes for years.

Peter Gray, 59, resigned last week after working for the last

decade at the athletics department, where he was in charge of

monitoring the academic progress of student-athletes. An internal

report, obtained by the Iowa City Press-Citizen, concluded that

Gray violated the university’s sexual harassment policy by rubbing,

massaging shoulders and hugging students and athletes —

behavior that allegedly took place since 2002 and also marked an

earlier employment stint at Iowa from 1993 to 1995.

Gray also made comments of a sexual nature to recruits and

parents, gave football tickets to someone outside the university in

exchange for nude photographs and made other sexual overtures and

comments, the report says.

Mason announced her review one day after leaders of the Iowa

Board of Regents met by conference call to discuss the case and

requested more information from the university. Board President

Craig Lang said it is important that regents play an oversight role

but that he would withhold comment until he gathers the facts later

this week.

Mason said in a statement that she could not comment on the

details of the case because it is a confidential personal

matter.

“I want to assure you that we are continuing to review all the

details regarding this matter and how it was handled,” Mason said.

“Once all the facts are known, I will take all necessary actions

that are warranted. My priority is the safety and wellbeing of our

students, faculty and staff.”

Regent Bob Downer of Iowa City questioned in an interview

Tuesday why Gray was rehired in 2002 if there were concerns about

him before he left in 1995, and he called for a review of

university policy on rehiring employees. He also wanted to know

more about how those who complained about Gray’s behavior were

treated, saying campus should be free from inappropriate sexual

conduct.

Phone numbers for Gray were disconnected, and nobody answered

the door at an Iowa City address for him. Gray, whose salary was

$73,000, counseled athletes at the Gerdin Athletic Learning

Center.

“The touching was described as overly friendly, prolonged in

nature, and generally inappropriate for a professional in an

academic advising or work setting,” the report says.

Some student athletes “reacted in a visceral and visible manner

indicating discomfort,” according to the report, which followed an

investigation into a formal complaint the university filed with its

Office of Equity and Diversity.

Some colleagues also requested not to work with Gray, the report

says. Gray’s supervisor acknowledged receiving complaints from

employees, coaches and at least one athlete about Gray’s behavior

at work and “local establishments” where students gather, and that

he had admonished him several times, it says.

Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz told reporters on Tuesday that Gray had

worked with members of the football team in the past but had not

done so for a while. He did not elaborate on when Gray stopped

counseling his players or why that came about.

Gray acknowledged using a photo of male swim team members posing

in their swimsuits as a screensaver on his work computer, where

investigators found other pictures showing individuals engaged in

sex acts with toys or stuffed animals and individuals in underwear

and swimsuits.

Gray gave football tickets and money in 2011 to someone not

affiliated with Iowa as “an incentive, gratitude or appreciation.”

That person sent him three nude photographs.

University of Iowa police said Monday they aren’t investigating

Gray. But the department released an incident report showing he was

linked to an investigation into “improper use of complimentary

tickets by athletic staff.” That case was closed last month after

officers did not find evidence of a crime, said associate director

of public safety David Visin.