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UW-Madison staffer fired after sexual assault allegations in 2017, records show

MADISON, Wis. (WISC) -- A University of Wisconsin-Madison academic staffer was fired in 2017 after reports of sexual assault, according to university records.

Allegations against the staffer include sexual assault and sexually explicit remarks, records show. In the 2017 case, a UW staff member was found in violation after refusing to let a student leave his office without performing a sex act first.

An Excel spreadsheet provided by the university shows 20 cases since 2009, only three of them naming the accused person. Of the cases, one person was terminated, another died during the investigation and yet another was removed from a teaching position. Seven other documents detail settlements.

Five cases were found to have insufficient evidence.

CBS 58 affiliate, WISC, went through each of the instances, some of them rising to the level of a policy violation. Others were less severe.

In another, sociology professor, John DeLamater, was found to commit impermissible long-term behavior harassing graduate students with inappropriate comments and touching. He was ordered to go through extensive harassment awareness training, and was no longer allowed to have unsupervised contact with students. Delamater died while the case was pending.

In another case within the sociology department, a student alleged her instructor was grading her contingent on her willingness to have sex with him. That student later asked that the investigation be dropped.

Some documents allege discrimination in the workplace, many ending in settlements, one for $250,000. Others detail less serious cases, like texting and social media messaging between instructors and students.

In a blog post, Chancellor Rebecca Blank commented on the university's response to sexual harassment on campus.

"I understand the interest in how our university has responded to this issue," Blank said in the post. "It’s part of a broad national movement that is rightly challenging institutions, public and private, to do better."

Blank said there have been 20 cases in the past 10 years, and some were resolved at the departmental level, while others resulted in formal complaints and investigations or lawsuits.

"Outcomes varied -- some individuals were found responsible and faced action up to and including termination," Blank said. "In other cases, investigators concluded that there wasn’t sufficient evidence of a violation. In several of the cases the university paid financial settlements."

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