Music Professor Accused Of Threatening, Assaulting Student

A Montana State University music professor is accused of having sex with a student and threatening her with negative career consequences if she broke things off. He denies it, but a university investigation supports the student's allegations.

According to the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, a woman identified as Student A told university authorities in April that she had had a relationship with orchestra conductor Shuichi Komiyama. She said that she went to his house in October of 2010 while his wife was away — the two kissed, cuddled, and removed clothes, which A said she did "because she worried about what he would do if she rejected him." Later, they went on "dates" and when they were alone in his office, "he insisted that she perform oral sex on him," saying "all good women (musicians) do this; it's just part of the music business." In November, she alleges he assaulted her, having sex with her while she was drunk, crying, and saying "no." Afterwards, she attempted to break off contact with him, but he tried to woo her with gifts, and then with threats: he allegedly told her, "if she did not do what he said, she would not get into graduate school. He told her that if anyone found out about their relationship, he would deny it and say she was an obsessed student."

In fact, Komiyama did deny everything when A came forward. He also "alleged Student A had a bad reputation and a serious drug problem with cocaine and prescription drugs." But a university investigation found no evidence of this — instead, investigators concluded that "Student A's statements are more credible than Professor Komiyama's" and that "Professor Komiyama's conduct constitutes serious and pervasive conduct of a sexual nature that created a hostile educational environment." Predictably, a number of students have taken to the comments on the Chronicle article to claim Student A was asking for it. A representative example:

Being a fellow music student.... I know exactly who student A - D are. While it may seem that Komiyama is completely in the wrong, keep in mind, "Some said Student A was flirtatious, wore suggestive clothes and appeared happy about her relationship with the professor." By SOME we mean ALL. Student A is a very sexual, attractive young lady. It is hard for me to see how ALL of the blame can be put upon Komiyama.

But whether or not Student A was "sexual" doesn't matter here. What matters is whether Komiyama abused his power to have a relationship with a student, then raped and threatened her. The report doesn't appear to comment directly on the rape allegations, but it does find convincing evidence that he sexually harassed A, that he made advances on other students, and that he pitted students against one another for his attentions. These allegations alone seem serious enough for dismissal — the university has placed Komiyama on paid leave, and won't comment on whether he will be terminated.

MSU Investigation Finds Professor Sexually Harassed Student [Bozeman Daily Chronicle]