SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A former conductor of the University of California, Davis, Symphony Orchestra gave up his professor titles amid allegations he sexually assaulted a former student who now works at the university.
D. Kern Holoman, who retired in 2013, relinquished the titles of professor emeritus and distinguished professor Monday after Danny Gray discussed the allegations with administrators and said he planned to write about them on his blog.
The university also revealed that Holoman was suspended for a month in 1997 over a different allegation of "unprofessional conduct" and told he could be fired if he violated the campus sexual harassment policy again.
Gray alleged Holoman sexually assaulted him when he was a freshman in 1987, later raped him and made other romantic and sexual gestures over a period of years. He said his allegations were "badly mishandled" when he told the university about them as a student but that administrators are now supportive.
Holoman apologized but said he remembers their relationship differently.
"Our memories of that time differ markedly, but the remorse is very real. I continue to treasure memories of our long friendship and its focus on the beauties of art, literature and history," he said in a statement sent to Gray by his attorney, Steven Sabbadini.
The University of California system has a history of limited transparency and lax discipline in handling sexual misconduct claims. The president's office told The Associated Press in March that a quarter of the more than 100 employees found to have violated sexual misconduct policies in a three-year window were faculty members.
The governing board paid a UC Santa Cruz student $1.15 million after she accused the university of failing to address her rape claims against professor Hector Perla in 2015. A letter in his file showed his conduct constituted sexual assault and he should be dismissed, but he resigned before disciplinary action was taken.
UC Berkeley came under intense criticism after a former law school dean, Sujit Choudhry, received only a temporary pay cut and counseling orders after a 2015 investigation found he repeatedly kissed and touched a subordinate.
In the UC Davis case, Gray said he told the university about Holoman's behavior twice while he was in school and was told by an administrator that Holoman would not be made a dean in the future.
Gray again brought up his concerns after Holoman became dean of the College of Letters and Science in March 1995. Holoman stepped down from the role in April 1996.
He referenced the allegations again this year, when the school was considering bringing Holoman back for a teaching position. It was not granted.
Gray, now director of academic employment and labor relations at the university, said the national Me Too movement of sharing stories about sexual misconduct inspired him to come forward.
"These courageous people who have started this have opened up a space where victims can see possibly, maybe, what happened to me is not something that I need to be so ashamed of," Gray told AP.
Holoman's attorney said they were not commenting further. Losing the titles means Holoman can no longer teach or pursue research related to the University of California system.
Chancellor Gary May sent a letter Monday to the UC Davis community outlining the university's anti-harassment policies and resources for victims.
"I have no doubt our own UC Davis community includes survivors and their abusers," May wrote.
Holoman possessed a celebrity status on campus, said Gray, who played violin in the symphony. The two began having lunch together on campus, progressing into an invite for lunch at Holoman's home, where Gray said the professor sexually assaulted him in a hot tub.
Their friendship continued at various points, and Holoman later raped him, Gray said.
"I regret that I lacked the moral clarity and courage to end all engagement with Holoman permanently once his predatory nature had revealed itself," Holoman wrote on his blog. "My failings aside, however, Holoman was still the predator, and I was still the victim."