SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) — San Jose State University is in the hot seat over its handling of sexual harassment complaints against a professor.
The university is accused of hampering an investigation into one of their professors.
San Jose State University leaders are being investigated for possibly breaking the law to cover up sexual harassment allegations against Professor Lewis Aptekar, a counselor of education.
A student accused him of sexual harassment in 2015.
A university investigation concluded he did act inappropriately, but it wasn’t until the San Jose Mercury News started asking questions that San Jose State University finally put him on leave.
Now we’ve learned that the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office looked into how San Jose State University handled their investigation. Specifically, whether the administration lied.
The school told the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s office they knew of no other accusations of inappropriate behavior involving Aptekar.
KPIX 5 has obtained an email from a deputy district attorney that says when the District Attorney’s Office asked school administrators if they knew of any other students making accusations of inappropriate behavior against Aptekar.
The administrators said, “No one has made any formal or informal complaints…”
However, there was another case against Aptekar: a 2014 anonymous complaint.
The word “anonymous” is key here because the school said there weren’t any “formal or informal complaints.”
In other words, they didn’t technically lie.
Since, according to San Jose State University, an anonymous complaint is not the same.
In the email we obtained, the prosecutor explains to a whistleblower why the investigation then went nowhere, saying, “although there is reason to be skeptical of this suspiciously convenient definition of formal or informal complaints, it became obvious during our investigation that we would never be able to prove otherwise.”
Aptekar is not teaching, but is still being paid by the university.