Ithaca College President Shirley Collado records show pled no contest to sexual abuse charges in 2001 after she was accused of having a months-long sexual relationship to a psychiatric hospital patient
The president of Ithaca College in upstate pleaded no contest to sexually abusing a patient when she worked at a psychiatric hospital nearly two decades ago.
Shirley M. Collado, who worked at The Center at the Psychiatric institute of Washington in D.C., was accused of having a five-month sexual relationship with a female patient who was undergoing therapy for post-traumatic stress in 2000, The Ithacan reported.
Dr Collado who has been on the Vanderbilt Board of Trust since 2014, the report stated was convicted of one count of misdemeanor sexual abuse in August 2001 after pleading no contest, she has maintained her innocence, saying she didn’t have the legal, financial and emotional resources to fight the case.
In an interview with The Ithacan, Ithaca College’s student newspaper, Collado said that there have never been other allegations of sexual misconduct against her.
The complainant was a patient, receiving treatment at The Center after she suffered the abuse of another doctor,.
The alleged victim said she and Dr. Collado kissed after a therapy session on May 20, 2000, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Sharon Marcus-Kurn.
By her account, Collado fondled her on at least two occasions and the two kissed after most individual therapy sessions in the following weeks, according to the prosecutor.
Collado subsequently resigned from The Center after her husband committed suicide on July 9, 2000, and the patient moved in with her “shortly after” she was discharged from the hospital, according to court documents cited by the Ithacan.
The patient, who claimed the sexual contact with Collado continued while they were living together, later told other employees at The Center about the relationship after she was asked to move out in October of 2000.
Members of the college Board of Trustees insist that they stand by Dr Collado. She was vetted before taking on her role as president, the said
The patient’s two other therapists and The Center’s director all believed the patient, according to the prosecutor.
“Although she may have flashbacks of prior abuse or may relieve traumatic experiences, her therapists have stated that she does not fabricate or hallucinate things that simply did not happen,” Marcus-Kurn wrote.
That case ended with clinical therapist, pleading no contest to one count of misdemeanor sex abuse, making her a second degree sexual offender.
Although the judge in the case recommended that Collado complete 120 hours of community service, participate in counseling for health care providers who sexually assault their patients and write a letter of apology to the victim. She was only sentenced, however, to 80 hours of community service.
Collado received a 30-day suspension, 18 months of supervised probation, and 80 hours of community service. She was also ordered to pay a $250 fine and to stay away from the patient.
In the wake of the current news leak, Collado on January 13, wrote her letter of clarification to the Ithaca College community explaining the context of the allegations. She has denied the charges. She also discussed the extraneous circumstances that led her plea arrangement.
“In light of the resurfacing of this legal action, I want to unequivocally state now, as I did then, that the accusations in the court documents are simply not true,” Collado wrote in the letter. “If I had more resources and was not dealing with my significant loss, I probably would have fought the charge. But I did what I felt was in my best interest at that time and followed my lawyer’s advice.”
Shirley Collado was a member of the first class of Posse Scholars, and received her undergraduate degree from Vanderbilt in 1994. After obtaining her M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in clinical psychology from Duke University. Collado served as the Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Middlebury College until 2014. In this position,she reportedly was responsible for developing sexual misconduct and judicial policies, among other functions.
In 2017 she was appointed president at Ithaca College.
School officials stand by Collado and say she was vetted, with Tom Grape, chair of the Ithaca College Board of Trustees telling the Ithacan, “My own perspective about it is this is something of almost 20 years ago that was adjudicated in court and has been settled.”