Massage therapist for KU student athletes bound for trial over sex abuse charges

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Picture of Shawn O'Brien

This undated file photo provided by the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office shows Shawn O’Brien. O’Brien, who provided massages for female athletes at the University of Kansas, will have to face trial on charges of sexually abusing a young girl, a judge ruled Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2020. (Douglas County Sheriff’s Office via AP, File)

LAWRENCE, Kan. — A man who provided massages for female athletes at the University of Kansas will have to face trial on charges of sexually abusing a young girl.

The charges, which came out earlier in 2020, allege Shawn O’Brien had been providing massage services to some women’s athletic teams since 2015. O’Brien was an independent contractor who operated Medissage in Lawrence.

Douglas County District Court Judge Sally Pokorny determined on Tuesday that enough evidence existed to take the case to trial on three felony charges of aggravated indecent liberties with a child, the Lawrence Journal-World reported. He also faces six misdemeanor charges of sexual battery that were filed after the university conducted an investigation during which athletes reported unwarranted touching during massages.

Chancellor Doug Girard and Athletic Director Jeff Long said in a statement Thursday they were “deeply troubled” by an internal inquiry into the situation.

O’Brien’s attorney entered not guilty pleas.  

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