UC Berkeley professor apologizes after sexual harassment claims

BERKELEY, Calif. (KTVU) - UC Berkeley is defending the way it's handled repeated sexual harassment claims against a prominent astronomy professor. 

Accusations against UC Berkeley Astronomy Professor Geoff Marcy surfaced last week when Buzzfeed published a story about a confidential university investigation. 

Marcy is essentially on probation after apologizing for inappropriate behavior with women, who were his students. 

But at least one of his accusers believes he's getting off easy.

According to Buzzfeed four women complained that Marcy repeatedly subjected students to unwanted advances including kissing, groping, and massages. 

The complaints date back to 2001. 

The university reached an agreement with Marcy, establishing what officials call a zero tolerance policy about his future behavior.

Any other violations of the sexual harassment policy will result in his suspension or dismissal.

Marcy, one of the world's leading experts on planets outside our solar system, issued a public apology on his faculty page. 

"While I don't agree with each complaint that has been made, it's clear that my behavior was unwelcomed by some women. I take full responsibility and hold myself completely accountable for my actions and the impact they had. For that and to the women affected, I sincerely apologize."

A leading group promoting women in astronomy weighed in on the accusations saying "this abuse of power needs to be addressed."