San Jose State’s former trainer pleads guilty to two federal charges

SAN JOSE – For more than a decade, dozens of San Jose State female athletes were told they were exaggerating, mistaken or naïve when they complained about the head athletic trainer massaging their breasts for shoulder injuries and groping buttocks for back injuries.

In a federal courtroom Tuesday, these women – many now in their 30s – were vindicated. In a plea deal with prosecutors, Scott Shaw pleaded guilty to two federal charges stemming from those sexual assault allegations, admitting that he willfully and intentionally violated the rights of two of those women in a way that, federal prosecutors said, “shocks the contemporary conscience.”

“Are you pleading guilty because you are, in fact, guilty of these charges?” U.S. District Judge Beth Labson Freeman asked Shaw, who stood before her Tuesday morning, his hands folded.

“Yes,” he said.

The guilty pleas came nearly two weeks after a federal jury deadlocked in tense deliberations on the original six charges against Shaw, with all but one or two jurors believing he was guilty. The judge declared a mistrial on Aug. 3, and the case was pending until Tuesday’s agreement.

Shaw, 56, who voluntarily left the university in 2020 and is collecting a state pension, will return for the judge to decide his sentence on Nov. 14. He faces a maximum of two years in prison, one year for each misdemeanor count.

“It’s a little bit maddening to go through a whole trial, and 12 years of this person vehemently denying everything, then all of a sudden he shows up and admits to that,” said Caitlin Macky, a swimmer who was the first to complain about Shaw in 2009 and testified against him during the trial. Along with others, she watched him admit guilt Tuesday over a Zoom video conference from her home in San Diego. “Everyone called us liars for so long. It does feel better that it’s out there and it’s public record.”

Former gymnast Amy LeClair, a 2016 graduate who received a settlement from the university over her treatment by Shaw, said the guilty pleas are a relief.

“To hear him plead guilty to what he’s done justifies in my mind that no, what he did was not normal, and yes, I should have trusted my gut,” said LeClair who felt alone and doubted her instincts that she was being abused.


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