Regents seek info on probe of ex-U of Iowa counselor
IOWA CITY (AP) — Iowa Board of Regents President Craig Lang said he’s asked for more information about events that led to the resignation of a University of Iowa athletics department counselor who had been accused of improperly touching student-athletes for years.
The board on Monday discussed the case of Peter V. Gray, 59, who resigned last week after working at the athletics department for the last decade, Lang said. He said he expects the information this week and that the board will oversee the case.
An internal report obtained by the Iowa City Press-Citizen concluded that Gray, associate director of athletic student services, violated the university’s sexual harassment policy.
The report says Gray made some athletes uncomfortable with rubbing, shoulder massages and hugging — behavior allegedly dating back to 1993. Gray 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.
Phone numbers for Gray were disconnected, and nobody answered the door Monday at an Iowa City address associated with him. Gray, whose salary was $73,000, counseled athletes at the Gerdin Athletic Learning Center.
The Press-Citizen has not described how it obtained the report, which university spokesman Tom Moore said was confidential and not subject to Iowa’s public records law.
“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 (to the touching) 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 hang out, and that he had admonished him several times, it says.
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 tickets and money to someone not affiliated with the school during the 2011 football season as “an incentive, gratitude or appreciation.” That person sent him three nude photographs.
Lang said he could not comment until he has seen the full report, a copy of which he has requested.
Regent Bob Downer of Iowa City asked 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 athletes and employees who complained about Gray’s behavior were treated, saying campus should be safe and free from inappropriate sexual conduct.
“I certainly don’t know how serious these allegations may be,” he said. “It does seem that we need to have confidence that anyone who feels that he or she is being subjected to unwanted and inappropriate advances, that there is a place where they can go to make these complaints and to have them reviewed by proper authorities. If there is something that requires a resolution, there must be a process in place by which this can occur.”
University of Iowa police said Monday they are not 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.