Massage therapist allegedly engaged in ‘inappropriate conduct’ with multiple female Kansas athletes

A massage therapist in Lawrence, Kansas, who was charged with a sex crime involving a young girl, allegedly engaged in “inappropriate conduct” with at least six female Kansas student-athletes, the school said on Tuesday.

The massage therapist, Shawn O’Brien, was charged with aggravated indecent liberties with a child in February after an alleged incident with a young girl seven or eight years ago, according to the Associated Press.

The 48-year-old had provided free massages on campus to the general student population from 2011-19 through the alumni association’s Finals Dinner, and distributed gift cards that may have led to off-campus massages at his office. Local law enforcement is investigating whether inappropriate conduct took place with those massages, per the report.

While working at the school, investigators found that O’Brien allegedly engaged in “inappropriate conduct” with at least six female student-athletes, including unwarranted touching during massages, chancellor Douglas Girod and athletic director Jeff Long said on Tuesday. They also found that one athletic trainer at the school was aware of “at least some reports of unwarranted and unwanted touching” by the therapist, but failed to report the behavior.

The university’s investigation is still ongoing.

O’Brien’s contract was nullified and he hasn’t worked with student-athletes since he was charged with a crime. Per the Associated Press, he provided massage therapy for the women’s basketball, tennis, softball and soccer teams.

“[O’Brien is] innocent of these charges and that’s what will be found in court,” his attorney, Philip Sedgwick, said Tuesday, via the Associated Press.

“It is kind of a sad day in our country when someone makes an allegation and people assume that it is true.”

At least six female Jayhawks athletes have accused a massage therapist at the school of “inappropriate conduct,” university officials said on Tuesday. (Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

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