Sexual misconduct allegation leads Southeastern University athletic trainer to relinquish license

The head athletic trainer for Southeastern University in Lakeland has voluntarily relinquished his license following a sexual misconduct complaint filed nearly a year ago by a 23-year-old volleyball player.

The volleyball player filed the complaint in December of 2020 with the Florida Department of Health.

According to the investigative report, the woman injured her quad muscle while playing volleyball. She was on her way to the training room to put heat on her injury when the head athletic trainer, Jem Sirrine, insisted that he provide neuromuscular electronic stimulation (STIM) treatment for her.

The woman alleged Sirrine stuck his hand in her spandex and moved the spandex and her underwear to the side and exposed her vagina for an "absolute unnecessary time period." He then allegedly placed the STIM pad nowhere near the injury site, documents say.

According to the report, Sirrine removed the pads once it was determined that the machine was not working properly and, in the process, exposed her vagina for a second time. 

In a Lakeland police report, the woman said Sirrine exposed her a total of three times during treatment.

When the woman went to exit the room, she told Florida Dept. of Health investigators that Sirrine was sitting in a "provocative" manner.

"She came to him for help and treatment," said Adam Horowitz, the woman's attorney. "She felt violated."

The woman informed the coach of the volleyball team and a representative from human resources about the alleged incident with Sirrine. She also reported the allegations to the Lakeland Police Department. 

In the police report filed on November 12, 2020, she said that she wanted to press charges and that "there was a similar report from a different girl against Jem approximately two weeks ago."

The State of Florida Board of Athletic Training met on October 6 to discuss the allegations. Sirrine was not present, waived a finding of probable cause, and signed a disciplinary voluntary relinquishment of his license.

The board ordered that his surrendering of the license be accepted. As a part of the surrender, Sirrine agreed to never reapply for a license as an athletic trainer in Florida.

"That was a big accomplishment when he surrendered his license because she knew that she was protecting, potentially, people in the future," Horowitz said.

Southeastern University's chief communications officer, Dana Davis, said in a statement, "Because Southeastern University takes allegations of sexual assault very seriously, the University took immediate action and suspended Mr. Sirrine upon learning of the complaint. Thirteen days later, after Southeastern conducted an investigation into the complaint, Mr. Sirrine’s employment at Southeastern [was] terminated." 

SEU had no further comment in regard to a possible second complaint.

FOX 13 News contacted Sirrine's attorney, Lance Leider, but did not receive a comment for this story.

Though Lakeland police did file two misdemeanor simple battery arrest affidavits, at this point, no criminal charges have been filed against Sirrine. The state attorney's office said the case is still under review and does not yet have a court date.

"Getting criminal justice is very important to her. Our fingers are crossed that the Polk County State Attorney's Office will bring criminal charges," said Horowitz. "We're exploring the possibility of a civil lawsuit against the university."