Published December 10, 2012
IOWA CITY, Iowa – A former University of Iowa athletics department counselor at the center of a sexual harassment scandal was rehired in 2002 without mention that he had been fired from another university for performance or that he had earlier worked at Iowa, according to records released Monday.
The university released more than 2,000 pages of documents related to Peter V. Gray, the associate director of athletic student services who quietly resigned last month. An internal university report accused Gray of sexually harassing students and athletes through improper touching that allegedly dated back to his earlier employment at Iowa from 1993 to 1995. The report also found that he had improper sexual photographs on his computer and had traded complementary football tickets to someone outside the university for nude photos.
The case has prompted university officials to reassign Gray's supervisor, associate athletic director Fred Mims, reorganize the athletics department, order an audit to find out what happened and review its hiring policies. The president of the Iowa Board of Regents last week said the case showed the university had failed to fully implement a policy requiring employees to be trained to respond quickly to sexual harassment allegations.
The records released Monday in response to requests from the media shed very little light on the handling of allegations against Gray, showing only that he was the subject of an investigation by the university's Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity starting in October. Gray submitted his resignation in late October to be effective Nov. 5, asking colleagues "that we not speculate on his resignation and in time he will inform us," according to an Oct. 29 email from Mims to employees.
"It is an unfortunate situation but we will be making some internal changes to address Pete's resignation," Mims wrote.
The university refused to release Gray's resignation letter or documents related to the investigation, saying they can be withheld as confidential personnel documents under Iowa law. Gray, 59, has not responded to messages seeking comment.
The records show Gray beat out 27 other candidates in 2002 to be hired as Iowa's associate director of athletics student services, in charge of academic and counseling for all Iowa athletes. In a report justifying Gray as the top choice out of four finalists, Mims told the university's director of affirmative action that Gray would bring long experience to the job.
Mims noted Gray had worked as director of advisement and retention at Coastal Carolina University, without noting Gray had been fired from that job after less than a year of employment in 1999 for what the school called poor performance. Mims also noted Gray's prior experience at the University of Mississippi and then Indiana University, where he was working as an athletics department counselor when he applied for the Iowa job in 2002.
"His experiences exceed those of other candidates and his knowledge of Big Ten and NCAA academic progression standards will allow him to make a smooth transition," Mims wrote.
Mims' memo did not mention Gray had worked at Iowa from 1993 to 1995 or explain the circumstances surrounding his departure, which remain unclear. Mims did not return a message seeking comment.
The records show that on Oct. 2, days before he was placed under investigation, Gray was a featured speaker at summit for high school athletes, where he gave tips on achieving success in academics and athletics.