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Prof convicted of assault resigns from UI

BY MICHELLE MCCONNAUGHEY | FEBRUARY 23, 2011 7:20 AM

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University of Iowa pathology Assistant Professor Toshiki Itoh, who had been on paid administrative leave since July 2008, resigned from his position in January through an agreement released Monday.

The agreement states Itoh’s resignation is effective today.

Itoh, 47, was placed on paid leave with an annual salary of $93,000 after a former research assistant filed several complaints against him in July 2008.

On Oct. 26, 2010, a Johnson County jury found Itoh guilty of two counts of assault with intent to cause bodily injury to the female assistant. Itoh’s sentencing was originally scheduled for Dec. 10, but it has since been continued.

The jury was unable to reach a verdict on a third-degree sexual-abuse charge in relation to the incident. That case will be retried.

Later, a UI investigation found probable cause Itoh had violated university policy on violence and sexual harassment.

Ronald Ehrenberg, the director of the Cornell Higher Education Research Institute, said it’s common for employees to resign after such lawsuits.

“[The] obvious example would be if there is some sort of sexual harassment, but facts of the case are ambiguous,” he said. “It might be because the university would be happy if a faculty member would voluntarily depart.”

And Ehrenberg said putting employees on paid leave is common in these types of cases.

“Until someone is convicted, there is always a chance that there is a false claim,” he said. “So it does not at all seem unusual; it seems to be very common practice to put someone on paid leave.”

Associate Provost Tom Rice and UI spokesman Tom Moore declined to comment on Itoh’s resignation. Moore has previously said the university doesn’t have a specific policy regarding the termination of employees charged with a crime.

“Itoh agrees and recognizes that his employment relationship with the University of Iowa and its sponsored programs shall be permanently and irrevocably severed,” the agreement states.

Because Itoh resigned via a letter on Jan. 3, UI officials canceled a Jan. 5 hearing, which would have determined “disciplinary proceedings.”

Though the separation agreement was originally marked confidential, the UI complied with state law in releasing the information following a recent public records request.

On Jan. 31, the Associated Press requested copies of certain employment agreements involving employees of the UI Carver College of Medicine.

Itoh was one of six employees whose agreements were set to be released.

However, on Tuesday, one employee, identified only as “John Doe,” filed a petition in Johnson County District Court requesting the UI not release his agreement.

The UI released Itoh’s settlement, said Philip Mears, Doe’s attorney, which he said is different from releasing his client’s employment records.

Moore said John Doe was the only employee who objected to having her or his information released.


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