After mistrial, former San Jose State athletic trainer pleads guilty to sexual assault

San Jose State University in San Jose, Calif. The president of San Jose State University resigned
San Jose State University in San Jose, California.
(Paul Sakuma / Associated Press)

A former athletic trainer at San Jose State University has pleaded guilty to sexual misconduct more than 14 years after accusations surfaced that he was inappropriately touching young women under the pretense of treating them.

Scott Shaw, 56, appeared in federal court Tuesday to plead guilty to two misdemeanor counts of violating the civil rights of a person. He had previously been tried for six such counts in a two-week case that ended in a mistrial.

Caitlin Macky, a former student athlete who testified against Shaw, told the Mercury News she was both frustrated and relieved by his guilty plea.


“It’s a little bit maddening to go through a whole trial, and 12 years of this person vehemently denying everything,” Macky said, “then all of a sudden he shows up and admits to that.”

Shaw served as the head trainer and director of sports medicine at SJSU, where he was accused of touching the breasts and buttocks of women on the swim, soccer and water polo teams while treating their injuries, according to the Department of Justice. He resigned in 2020, a year before San Jose State reached a $3.3-million settlement with 15 former student-athletes who accused Shaw of sexual harassment.

“Scott Shaw abused his position of trust and authority as a public university official to sexually assault female student-athletes who entrusted him with their medical care,” said Assistant Atty. Gen. Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division in a statement.

Though allegations against Shaw occurred as early as the 2009 school year, a public report published last year concluded that the San Jose State administration and Police Department did not sufficiently investigate initial complaints. The federal case was filed in 2022 and investigated by the San Francisco field office of the FBI.

Shaw’s attorneys declined to comment.

As part of the plea agreement, Shaw faces up to two years in federal prison, one for each count, up to two years of supervised release and a fine of up to $200,000. He is due to appear in court for sentencing on Nov. 14.