Stanford wrestling team accuses lecturer of sexual harassment, says coaches ignored complaints

Stanford University is investigating new allegations of sexual harassment, allegedly committed by a long-time lecturer.

Over the past summer, seven former members of Stanford’s wrestling team came forward accusing math lecturer Hung Le of sexual harassment.

It’s the second instance of accusations against the 25-year educator. Former school standout Josh Brown says as recently as 2010, Le frequently showered with team members in facilities open to athletes and the university community.

Brown says the 63-year-old would stare at the naked young men, and is quoted in the “San Jose Mercury News” as having said, “I felt pretty exposed and pretty unprotected by the folks who were supposed to be,” protecting athletes.

“That’s a serious red flag. I mean if you’re not a part of the team, you’ve got to wonder why is that instructor, that professor, why are in the locker room?,” said attorney Steve Estey. He specializes in civil sex abuse cases involving institutions such as universities.

KTVU talked to Josh Brown over the phone, but he declined to go into greater detail about the behavior he says was harassment. Hung Le said this was all a misunderstanding, and that it was coincidence that he showered at the same time as the team.

“Usually when there’s more than one complaint – kind of like where there’s smoke there’s fire, you need to really look into it,” said Estey.

Stanford University officials say the school’s Title IX Office did a mandatory investigation of allegations from 2002-to-2010, and, “The investigation at that time concluded that the university’s policies on sexual harassment had not been violated...”

“The problem with Title IX is it’s internal. It’s done by the university itself. And sometimes there’s an incentive to not find what you’re supposed to be looking for,” said Estey.

Estey says Stanford should have a third party, such as a police department, do a separate investigation into the claims. The university’s statement continues, “Our commitment is to conduct such investigations thoroughly, fairly and impartially, respecting the privacy rights of all participants…”

Stanford coaches deny the claims of sexual harassment, or that they turned a blind eye to an ongoing problem.

The university isn’t saying how long it will take to complete this second Title IX investigation. In the meantime, it’s unclear if Hung Le still lecturing mathematics at Stanford.