Jason Gesser resigns as Washington State assistant AD amid new allegations of sexual misconduct

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Jason Gesser has resigned as assistant athletic director at Washington State University, effective immediately, following new allegations of sexual misconduct against him by a former WSU volleyball player.

Alyssa Wold-Bodeau, who played volleyball for the Cougars from 2012 to ’13, told The Daily Evergreen on Monday that Gesser groped her and tried forcefully to kiss her after the two attended a fundraising event in 2015.

The allegations came just four days after Gesser was cleared of similar allegations by a university investigation.

“I am deeply saddened that recent circumstances in my private life have created a distraction for the Department and the University,” Gesser said in a letter of resignation that was made public. “While I certainly never intended to hurt anyone, I believe it is best for all for me to move forward.

“To the young woman that I made feel uncomfortable, I respectfully have a different recollection of the situation you’ve described, but acknowledge that I should never have been in the situation in the first place, and I apologize. I truly never meant to cause you harm.”

The school said in a statement Tuesday night that it had accepted Gesser’s resignation.

“We sincerely appreciate the courage it takes for individuals to come forward with concerns of this nature,” the statement read. “We take the allegations extremely seriously, and the Office for Equal Opportunity intends to continue its investigation.”

The Daily Evergreen reported last week that it had obtained hundreds of pages of public records involving allegations of sexual harassment against Gesser, some dating to 2014. The allegations include that he made advances on student interns and coworkers, some as recently as 2017.

On Thursday, school president Kirk Schulz and director of athletics Pat Chun issued a statement, saying “the university followed its established procedures to review the matter and found no violation of Washington State University policy. The allegations were taken seriously and addressed at the appropriate level.”

On Tuesday, following the new allegations by Wold-Bodeau, Gesser was placed on home assignment pending a full investigation. The university said it was the first time that an individual who was directly involved in an alleged incident of sexual misconduct had filed a formal complaint against Gesser with the Office for Equal Opportunity.

“This is new information and a different set of events than previously reported,” WSU said in a statement.

Gesser was an assistant director for the Cougar Athletic Fund, which raises money for WSU sports teams. He was a former WSU quarterback who led the Cougars to the 2003 Rose Bowl before embarking on a professional playing and college coaching career. He returned to work at WSU in 2013.

When he was cleared on Thursday, Gesser, who is married and has three children, released a statement in which he said the allegations against him were not true.

“I am categorically opposed to harassment or sexism in the workplace or society, and I am deeply committed to my wife and children,” Gesser wrote. “The non-story published by the Evergreen addresses accusations that were fully investigated by the university and found to be without merit.”

“I will not allow my name to be unfairly smeared, and I will continue to passionately serve our university as a proud member of Cougar Nation,” he wrote.

In a statement to media outlets following news of Gesser’s resignation, Wold-Bodeau said: “It’s been a long and difficult 48 hours and an even more difficult three years. I’m extremely happy to see that Jason has resigned his position of influence and power at WSU. It’s a relief to know that no other young women will be subjected to Mr. Gesser’s actions and abuse of power. I pray he gets the help he needs and that his family can move forward. I also pray that this event will serve to give encouragement to others. Staying silent is no longer an option. If my story resonates with you, come forward. Bring it to that light so that we all — as a community — can begin the healing process. And to my Coug nation, thank you so much for the support. You are an amazing family.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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