A Stanford University investigation has found that a math lecturer accused of staring at wrestlers in on-campus locker room showers years ago did not violate the university's sexual-harassment policy.
Stanford released a statement on Friday after seven former wrestlers spoke out in a local newspaper article about the alleged conduct of Hung Le, who is identified on the Stanford website as a lecturer with the Institute for Computational and Mathematical Engineering. The wrestlers alleged that between 2002 and 2010, Le regularly stared at them while they showered naked in a locker room that was open to the Stanford community at the time.
Le did not respond to requests for comment from the Weekly. In an interview with the San Jose Mercury News, he called the allegations a misunderstanding, stating that "I never had any improper behavior."
Stanford said that the "individual involved has consistently denied any sexual intent."
"While the investigation acknowledges that some conduct of the individual in the period up to 2010 may have made some wrestlers uncomfortable, it concludes that there is not sufficient evidence that a violation of Stanford's sexual harassment policy occurred," the university's statement reads.
Stanford first investigated allegations about Le in 2010, when they came to the attention fo the university's Sexual Harassment Policy Office. Stanford concluded at the time that Le had not violated sexual-harassment policy but "agreed to take certain precautions to preclude further concerns," the university said.
The Mercury News reported that Le said that Stanford's former senior associate athletic director, Earl Koberlein, was the only person to interview him about the allegations at the time. Koberlein told Le in an email, provided to the Mercury News, that he had found no policy violations but instructed Le to move his locker and "keep a good distance away from wrestling team members" while they showered.
Stanford launched a second investigation this summer after a former wrestler made allegations against Le, some "identical" and some additional, the university said, but none that were alleged to have occurred after the 2010 investigation.
This time, Stanford's Title IX Office — which didn't exist at the time of the first investigation — conducted a probe into the complaints. The Title IX Office interviewed more than 30 former and current wrestlers and coaches before concluding that Le did not violate sexual-harassment policy under a preponderance of the evidence standard, which means the evidence must show it is more likely than not that the alleged conduct occurred.
There have been no reports of Le making inappropriate physical contact with or saying anything sexually inappropriate to students, the university said. No individual or family affiliated with Cardinal Wrestling Club, an independent youth wrestling club that uses campus facilities and on whose board of directors Le reportedly served for a decade, according to the Mercury News, has reported concerns about him to the university.
Le is listed as a donor to the wrestling team on a "Friends of Stanford Wrestling" list from the 2006-07 season.
Jason Borrelli, who has been the wrestling team's head coach for 11 years, and Associate Head Coach Ray Blake, who was a teammate to some of the wrestlers making the allegations, referred interview requests to the university's statement.
While the university does not disclose details about investigation findings, Stanford said that "much of the evidence in this case was disputed.
"Many of the wrestlers interviewed were not discomforted by the individual's conduct, some were, and others reflected that any discomfort they experienced was a product of their own relative immaturity at the time," the university said.
Stanford reiterated that the lack of a policy violation "is not intended to communicate any invalidation of the feelings or perceptions of those wrestlers who reported concerns." The university encouraged anyone with information about the allegations to contact the Title IX Office and said that it may reopen an investigation if warranted by additional information.
Stanford's Title IX Office can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 650-497-4955.