Sexual impropriety at a late-night Rose Bowl party inside a hotel suite appears to be linked to the recent resignation of Wisconsin associate athletic director John Chadima, based on a report issued by the university this week.
The activity, alleged to involve a male student at Wisconsin, would be the latest disturbing incident involving sexual misconduct taking place within an athletic program at a major university.
Unlike the allegations at Penn State and Syracuse that involved members of football and basketball coaching staffs, the latest allegations involve a senior-level administrator who worked closely with students.
But as at Penn State and Syracuse, school officials are struggling to determine what could have been done to prevent a disturbing incident.
Wisconsin officials issued a report, based on interviews with 23 people, that alleges that while hosting a party Dec. 30 at his suite in the J.W. Marriott in Los Angeles, Chadima made advances toward the student after telling him he thought he might be gay.
At that point, Chadima allegedly removed the student's belt, reached inside his pants and touched his genitals. The report said the student slapped Chadima's hand away and swore at him.
The report says Chadima asked the student, "What are you going to do about it?"
The report says Chadima then told the student he could be fired if the incident was reported. The report also says Chadima told the student he was "just joking around" when the student was leaving the suite.
Former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky, who was charged with a litany of crimes involving younger boys, told schools officials there he was just "horsing around" with a boy inside a school locker room. Sandusky was arrested, and several key school figures -- including legendary football coach Joe Paterno, who died Sunday -- were dismissed in the aftermath of the arrest.
The Wisconsin report said Chadima had thrown a party at the Badgers’ bowl site in each of the past four years, rewarding staff and student volunteers for working long hours during bowl preparations.
The incident appears to have taken place after the 25 to 30 people who attended the party in Chadima's suite had left between 1:30 a.m. and 2 a.m. on Dec. 31.
Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez and deputy athletic director Sean Frazier were aware of the party, but did not attend.
The student, who is over 21, told a panel of investigators that Chadima asked him to stay for a drink after everyone else had left. Chadima provided beer, alcohol and mixers for the party, which, the report says, was paid for out of university funds.
Students and staff members who were interviewed for the report said Chadima and others consumed "significant amounts" of alcohol, but were not acting inappropriately.
The report states the student said he did not worry about remaining behind after the others left, having no reason to be suspicious of Chadima. The student characterized Chadima as "a nice guy who was always friendly and well-respected" and someone he had known for several years.
The student said he made three rum drinks for himself and Chadima. He told investigators both he and Chadima were intoxicated but were "coherent and in control of their physical movements."
Following the incident, according to the report, the student knocked on the door of his supervisor and also told three fellow student employees what had taken place. Another student said the student in question made it clear "he did not want anything from this -- no money, no distraction -- but that this was just wrong."
Despite reports from students that they never had witnessed Chadima act inappropriately before, investigators said they discovered inappropriate text messages after obtaining records contained in Chadima’s computer and cell phone.
The night before the party, Chadima texted another student, demanding he come to Chadima's suite. Chadima threatened to fire the student if he did not comply. That student declined to speak with investigators.
Panel members questioned Chadima's decision to supply alcohol at the parties. Alvarez told the panel he did not recommend staff members drinking with students or student employees.
The four-person panel's finding was that Chadima's alleged actions were inappropriate on several levels.
"What has been alleged is not only a sexual assault but also a serious breach of trust within a community that we heard described repeatedly by student employees as a tight-knit and supportive family," the panel wrote.
Chadima was placed on paid leave Jan. 6, then resigned later that day. Chadima, who worked in Wisconsin’s athletic department for 22 years, declined to be interviewed by investigators.
Chadima's attorney provided a statement to a Madison newspaper, the Wisconsin State Journal, stating his client was “deeply saddened” by the report's content.
"It is certainly not reflective of the type of person I am," Chadima wrote in the statement. "My lifestyle, my management style or my faith or beliefs."
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