SCRANTON, Pa. (AP) — A former state university administrator in northeastern Pennsylvania is not guilty of allegations that he sexually harassed or assaulted students, a jury ruled Friday.
The verdict in the federal civil rights trial was issued in favor of Isaac Sanders, the former vice president of advancement at East Stroudsburg University.
The Pocono Record (http://bit.ly/10Ga9qE ) said Sanders' lawyer reported that he was elated and considers it the first step toward vindicating his reputation. Sanders was not in the courtroom when the verdict was announced.
"A lot of terrible, terrible things have been written about Dr. Sanders. Rumors, gossip, whispers have been circulated and printed, but when the time came for these accusers to prove their allegations, they failed," said the lawyer, Harry Coleman. "Dr. Sanders, through the jury's verdict, has been vindicated, and a lot of people owe Dr. Sanders an apology."
Three former university students claimed Sanders offered them campus jobs and paid some of their tuition in order to groom them for sexual advances. They alleged he groped them, and one said Sanders forced the student to perform oral sex on several occasions.
Sanders testified he considered the allegation of forced oral sex "preposterous" and that he considered it disgusting to touch another man's genitals.
Sanders was never charged with a crime, but the school fired him in 2008. The lawsuit followed a year later.
The newspaper reported that the three plaintiffs were consoled after the verdict by friends outside the courtroom. They had alleged Sanders was a predator who targeted emotionally fragile young black men.
Their lawyer, Albert Murray Jr., told the paper the plaintiffs will have to consider their options about a possible appeal.
Information from: Pocono Record, http://www.poconorecord.com/