Itoh sentenced to 7 days

BY HAYLEY BRUCE | APRIL 25, 2011 7:20 AM

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A former University of Iowa assistant professor accused of physically and sexually assaulting a lab assistant will serve seven days in jail.

Toshiki Itoh was sentenced April 22 after a jury found him guilty of two counts of assault with intent to cause bodily injury last October. Itoh was also charged with third-degree sexual abuse; he issued an Alford plea to a lesser charge March 23 after the jury could not reach a verdict on that charge.

Itoh was placed on an annual paid leave of $93,000 starting in 2008 following the accusations. He resigned his position from the UI Feb. 23 after collecting roughly $200,000.

For the assault causing bodily injury charges, Itoh was sentenced to a year in jail — all but seven days were suspended. For the plea on assault with intent to commit sexual abuse, he was sentenced to two years' probation, according to court documents.

He is also required to register as a sex offender and pay a $625 fine — a sentence with which the state was content.

"We were asking for more jail time, but obviously, we're glad he got some jail time," Johnson County assistant prosecutor Anne Lahey said. "We were cognizant he didn't have a criminal background, but given the time this went on, and [the victim's] cultural inability to report it, and the fact he was her employment supervisor, we felt OK asking for more jail time."

During the trial, the victim testified Itoh criticized her work "very often" and hit her "many times," but she never reported the abuse fearing she would lose her job and be deported.

"He said if I wanted to stay in the lab, I had to follow what he said," the victim said. "I followed because he might not keep my employment."

The victim said she finally reported the assaults to police July 10, 2008, after Itoh punched her in the face, breaking her glasses. She also said he sexually assaulted her.

During the trial, Itoh said the victim "growled" and instigated the altercations when he asked her to complete work. He said he thought the woman was stronger than him and he tried to protect himself.

Last month, Johnson County prosecutor Janet Lyness said officials advised Itoh, who is not a U.S. citizen, that these are deportable offenses.

Itoh's most recent attorney, Mark Brown, could not be reached for comment following the sentencing.

Itoh will begin serving his seven-day jail sentence May 10.

The salary Itoh received while on paid leave prompted legislators on April 18 to pass a bill that would require all public officials to return their paid-leave salary if convicted.

Gov. Terry Branstad has yet to sign the bill; he said he felt the bill "was only fair" in an interview with The Daily Iowan last month.

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