University of Kansas investigators found inappropriate conduct took place between massage therapist Shawn O’Brien — who was arrested on Feb. 7 and charged on aggravated indecent liberties with a child — and at least six female student-athletes, according to a campus-wide message from Chancellor Douglas Girod and Athletics Director Jeff Long.
Inappropriate conduct included unwanted touching during massages, investigators found. They also found that an athletic trainer was aware of some accounts of unwanted touching by the therapist but failed to report the inappropriate conduct.
“We will continue our investigation into the conduct of the therapist and determine who, if anyone else, knew of inappropriate behavior that may have occurred,” the message said.
O’Brien was independently contracted for Kansas Athletics to provide massage therapy to the women’s basketball team, women’s tennis team, softball team and soccer team at different times between January 2015 and June 2019, according to documents obtained by the Kansan.
The University filed Clery Act reports of the alleged instances, according to the message. In 2018, 13 rapes were reported on campus, according to the 2018 Clery Report.
Investigators also found that O’Brien provided free massages on campus to students at KU Alumni Association’s Finals Dinner from 2011 to fall 2019. He distributed gift cards that may have led to off-campus massages at his office, the message said.
“We have numerous protocols and required training focused on students’ well-being and the necessity of reporting inappropriate behavior,” the message said. “Through this investigation, we have learned protocols were not followed.”
The University will continue to share information as appropriate, the message said.
Edited by Elise Lindemann