Federal report reveals MSU counselor accused of sexual harassment allowed to keep job four years after
On the heels of a report from the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights or OCR determining that MSU did not act in a timely manner to two separate sexual assault cases, the report has uncovered even more examples of MSU mishandling cases of sexual harassment.
One of the larger allegations against MSU in the report was one of a university counselor who was reported as having sexually harassed women who were seeking counseling after being sexually assaulted.
"The most troubling example of this was a University counselor who allegedly sexually harassed students who sought counseling services after being sexually assaulted. The University received a complaint about this counselor, but initially took no action against the counselor until additional complaints were filed. Staff had noticed inappropriate behavior by this counselor in the past, but had not immediately reported those concerns to the I3 office," OCR's report stated.
In a press call Tuesday, Kristine Zayko, the deputy general council for Michigan State, disagreed with OCR's findings on this specific case and said that the OCR did not reinvestigate into the alleged sexual harassment at all, but rather looked at case files which already existed from the university.
“We don’t agree with the way that those cases have been characterized, in their letter of findings. We didn’t have an opportunity to discuss those with OCR, nor did we provide them with anything beyond the file review,” Zayko said.
However, MSU spokesman Jason Cody said the director of the counseling center was made aware of a complaint about a counselor engaging in a "creepy and inappropriate" line of questioning during a group sexual assault counseling session in 2009.
Cody did not know what action was taken against the employee at the time, but did say that there was another complaint about the same employee again in 2013, which is when MSU decided to launch a Title IX investigation regarding the complaint about the counselor.
Cody said in 2013 when the director of the counseling center became aware of the allegations, the employee was immediately removed from all contact with students, and all clinical responsibilities while the university investigated the matter.
That counselor was terminated at the end of the investigation in 2013.