University employee resigns amid sexual misconduct complaint
PULLMAN, Wash. (AP) — Washington State University employee and former quarterback Jason Gesser resigned Tuesday, a day after he was accused of sexual misconduct.
Gesser, 39, sent a letter to the university resigning his post as assistant athletic director effective immediately.
“I am deeply saddened that recent circumstances in my private life have created a distraction for the department and university,” Gesser wrote. “While I certainly never intended to hurt anyone, I believe it is best for all involved for me to move on.”
The university’s President Kirk Schulz and Director of Athletics Pat Chun said in a joint statement Tuesday evening that they had accepted Gesser’s resignation.
“We sincerely appreciate the courage it takes for individuals to come forward with concerns of this nature,” they said. “We take the allegations extremely seriously, and the Office for Equal Opportunity intends to continue its investigation.”
Schulz and Chun said Monday that the school received the complaint Monday and that Gesser was to work from home pending an investigation.
This was new information and a different set of events than previously reported, said Kimberly Anderson, director of WSU’s Office for Equal Opportunity.
A former student athlete filed the formal complaint and made public her interactions with Gesser after moving away from Pullman, The Spokesman-Review reported . She had worked for 18 months babysitting and working as a nanny for Gesser’s three children before an encounter in 2015.
Details of the incident haven’t been released.
“To the young woman that I made feel uncomfortable, I respectfully have a different recollection of the situation you’ve described,” Gesser wrote, “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 university newspaper 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 back to 2014. The allegations include that he made advances on student interns and co-workers, some as recently as 2017.
The university said it launched an investigation of the past allegations after officials became aware of them in December.
Officials interviewed or attempted to interview all those involved and found no violations of school policy, the school said.
Gesser, who is married, was an assistant director for the Cougar Athletic Fund, which raises money for WSU sports teams.
As a quarterback, he led the Cougars to the 2003 Rose Bowl and then embarked on a college coaching career after spending a season with the Tennessee Titans. He returned to work at WSU in 2013.