Loma Linda professor is arrested on suspicion of sexually touching a student without consent

A 63-year-old public health professor at Loma Linda University was arrested Thursday on suspicion of sexual battery during a meeting with a student in his office, authorities said.

Mahmood G. Ghamsary, an associate professor who previously directed the private university's biostatistics program, was taken into custody after an unidentified female student reported that he touched her without her consent, according to the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department.

The student told authorities that during a meeting in his office about 3:45 p.m. Wednesday, Ghamsary hugged her and reached under her clothing, sheriff's officials said. He also "began touching various parts of her body without her consent," sheriff's officials said in a statement.

The student informed her boyfriend about what happened and they reported the incident late Wednesday.

Ghamsary, a resident of Studio City, was booked into a county jail and held in lieu of $25,000 bail. He is scheduled to be arraigned Monday. He could not be reached for comment and it is unclear whether he's being represented by an attorney.

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In a statement, Loma Linda University spokesman Larry Becker said that the university was informed of the alleged incident on Thursday and that Ghamsary was being placed on administrative leave.

"Loma Linda University is fully compliant with Title IX and prohibits sexual harassment, coercion, assault or any kind of inappropriate contact," Becker said in a statement, noting that workplace programs seek to educate employees about such behavior.

The school, which is affiliated with the Seventh-day Adventist Church, is cooperating with sheriff's investigators, Becker added. The 4,500-student university will later conduct its own investigation, he said.

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The Sheriff's Department released Ghamsary's photo in the event that there are other victims. Anyone with information is asked to contact Det. Ken Marshall at (909) 387-3545.

For breaking news in California, follow @MattHjourno.


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