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Records: Ex-U. Iowa official had been fired in SC

Associated Press Modified: November 14, 2012 at 5:47 pm •  Published: November 14, 2012

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — The former University of Iowa athletic department official at the center of a sexual harassment investigation had been fired from a previous job at a liberal arts college in South Carolina in 1999, according to records released Wednesday.

Coastal Carolina University in Conway, S.C., dismissed Peter V. Gray after he had worked less than a year as its director of advisement and retention. His supervisor cited "unsatisfactory working results" and vowed she wouldn't rehire him as a result.

"Employment not in the best interest of the institution," is listed as the reason for the termination in the document, released in response to an open records request by The Associated Press. It does not elaborate.

Gray's employment background is significant as Iowa officials investigate the details of sexual harassment claims against him and how they were handled. The firing raises questions about how deeply Iowa dug into his background before putting him in charge of monitoring the academic progression of its student-athletes.

Gray, 59, resigned from Iowa last week after an internal investigation accused him of sexually harassing students and athletes in his job as associate director of athletics student services, which he had held since 2002. The behavior allegedly included overly friendly hugs, massages and other touching that colleagues and students said was unprofessional and made them feel uncomfortable.

The report, obtained by the Iowa City Press-Citizen, also found that Gray gave football tickets to someone outside the university in exchange for nude photographs and had several pictures on his work computer that were "suggestive in nature," including a picture of the men's swimming team he used as a screen saver and two showing individuals engaged in sex acts with toys or stuffed animals.

Gray had worked previously at Iowa from 1993 to 1995, and the report quoted employees as saying his inappropriate behavior dated back to that time.

Critics, including Regent Bob Downer of Iowa City, have questioned why Iowa rehired Gray in 2002 if they were aware of previous concerns. But a top university official defended the hiring decision this week, saying that Gray was an outstanding candidate chosen for the job after beating out several others in a national search.

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