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Shuichi Komiyama, the Montana State University Orchestra conductor accused of having an affair with a student that amounted to sexual harassment, has resigned, the university’s top attorney said Wednesday.

Leslie Taylor, MSU’s chief legal counsel, said Komiyama had submitted his resignation, effective Sept. 30.

“We will seek a replacement,” Taylor said. She did not give details about the resignation, pointing out that MSU is still fighting in court against revealing personnel information it considers confidential.

The, Chronicle still has a lawsuit pending against MSU seeking more information, arguing the public’s right to know outweighs the right to privacy in this case.

Komiyama, 47, contacted by email, declined to comment. Chuck Watson, the Bozeman attorney, said he no longer represents Komiyama.

Geoffrey Angel, a Bozeman attorney who represents the female student, said he was concerned that Komiyama’s resignation may allow him to keep a clean record. A responsible university would reject the resignation and fire him for cause, Angel contended.

“Now he gets to say, ‘I’ve never been fired,’” the attorney said. “We would be awfully disappointed … if the university allowed him to resign and closed the file. It wouldn’t seem right.”

Allegations against Komiyama came to light last April when the female undergraduate told the MSU music department she had had a sexual relationship with the conductor.

Until then, Komiyama, a tenured associate music professor, had a reputation as a charismatic conductor who had injected energy and excitement into the MSU Orchestra and Jazz Band. He was attracting larger audiences to performances and took the MSU Orchestra on its first tour to Vietnam, Thailand and Singapore.

Once the allegations were made, MSU suspended Komiyama with pay, as called for in MSU policy, and launched an investigation, which was conducted by its affirmation action officer, Diane Letendre, and Beth Merrell, associate legal counsel.

Angel gave a copy of their report to the, Chronicle, with sections blacked out by MSU and by Angel to protect the identity of students.

MSU’s investigation included interviews with more than two dozen students, professors and other witnesses, plus many email messages from Komiyama to the student.

The report concluded that Komiyama had an intimate relationship with the student and that it violated university policies and federal Title 9 rules against sexual harassment and gender discrimination.

The student had a reasonable belief that the professor “had considerable power over her success” and that she had to give in to his sexual advances to get his help in furthering her career and getting into graduate school, the report concluded.

The student alleged that the professor had insisted on a sex act in his MSU office, and that once, as she was trying to end the affair, he forced her to have intercourse.

Komiyama denied having sexual contact of any kind with the student. But the investigators found that other female students reported the professor had also made advances toward them, and concluded that the weight of the evidence supported the student’s allegations.

Gail Schontzler can be reached at or 582-2633.

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