Earlier this month, a former executive assistant in the Oklahoma State Senate requested and received an emergency protective order against then-University of Oklahoma executive director of government affairs John Woods after alleging he sexually assaulted her in a parking lot and then sent her a video of himself masturbating.
Woods’ employment at OU ended today, hours after a story by Barbara Hoberock of the Tulsa World revealed the allegation, according to Mackenzie Dilbeck, OU’s vice president of marketing and communications.
“I can’t comment on the existence or non-existence of any Title IX investigation, but I can confirm that we immediately began an administrative investigation upon learning of the allegations (on Aug. 6),” Dilbeck told NonDoc today. “We learned of these concerning allegations that we take very seriously, so we immediately began an internal investigation of our employee.”
Anissa Scott listed Woods as a “friend/mentor” on her protective order application, which was filed in Cleveland County District Court on Aug. 6. The filing is listed publicly on the state court network’s website. As a result, NonDoc has chosen to report her name and discussed the decision with her prior to publication of this article. (Scott’s first name is misspelled on OSCN.)
“John Woods sexually assaulted me in a parking lot,” Scott wrote in her protective order application. “Immediately after the assault, Mr. Woods sent me a video of himself masterbating (sic). He then continued to virtually attack me by adding me to a group chat and introduced me as someone ‘who likes it rough and wanted to join the group.'”
The alleged incident occurred July 27, three days before the OU Board of Regents met to formalize its planned move to the Southeastern Conference. Woods attended the meeting and spoke casually with a state representative in the audience, discussing an upcoming legislative dinner being hosted by OU President Joe Harroz at the Boyd House in Norman.
Scott now works for the University Hospital Authorities Trust, a public trust that supports the University of Oklahoma’s hospital system. UHAT “is completely separate and apart from the University of Oklahoma,” Dilbeck said.
Dilbeck said OU’s investigation of Woods “is complete.” Asked whether OU’s investigation revealed additional allegations against Woods, Dilbeck responded: “I can’t comment on that.”
She emailed clarification on that question.
“On whether our investigation revealed any additional accusations, I will share that during the preliminary stages of our investigation we became aware of the related potential criminal investigation and, per protocol, deferred our investigation to law enforcement, cooperating as appropriate,” Dilbeck wrote.
Woods, 46, did not return a call from NonDoc prior to the publication of this article, but his attorney, Steve Stice, provided comment to Hoberock of the Tulsa World.
“We are going to defend against those allegations strenuously,” Stice said.
‘I am worried about my safety’
Reached Friday morning, Scott deferred comment to her attorney, Liz George.
“Because this is an ongoing matter, I’m unable to comment any further at this time,” George said.
A board member for YWCA Oklahoma City, George spoke with NonDoc on Friday during a break from a YWCA board meeting. She said sexual misconduct is a serious matter.
“Anyone who is facing domestic violence or sexual assault of any kind should speak up and reach out to the YWCA hotline,” George said.
Cleveland County District Judge Nathaniel Hales has granted Scott an emergency protective order against Woods, pending a Sept. 2 hearing for a final protective order.
In her application for the protective order, Scott wrote that on July 28, the day following the parking lot encounter, Woods “continued to send me messages while I was at work.”
“I asked Mr. Woods to never contact me again. He did not respect my wishes and sent another text,” she wrote.
Scott wrote that, on Aug. 4, Woods’ wife “called me from his phone leaving me a voicemail at 11:34 p.m.”
“She then called two more times from her phone. I did answer her call. She demanded all the details of the assault,” the woman wrote. “Though it was traumatic, I gave her the information and asked her to get any additional information from the police, as I filed a statement. I am worried about my safety. Mr. Woods continues to harras (sic) me through his wife. I have also met w/ his employer’s attorneys on this matter and worry about retaliation.”
A former director of the Norman Chamber of Commerce and the Oklahoma Tobaccos Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET), Woods was hired at OU in December 2018 following the termination of former Sen. Jonathan Nichols by then-President Jim Gallogly.
Woods served as a district director for U.S. Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK4) in the early 2000s before working for the Oklahoma House of Representatives.
Requests for incident reports or comment from the Norman Police Department were not responded to prior to the publication of this article.
John Woods the latest to be investigated by OU
In recent years, the University of Oklahoma has endured a series of sexual misconduct allegations against and investigations into prominent male employees.
The university is currently involved in litigation with NonDoc regarding an investigatory report about sexual misconduct allegations against former OU President David Boren, who resigned his emeritus faculty position in an effort to conclude the university’s Title IX investigation. Longtime Boren confidant and former OU Vice President Tripp Hall was investigated by state law enforcement over an allegation of rape. An appointed special prosecutor decided not to seek charges against either Boren or Hall from the state’s multi-county grand jury. Both men have denied wrongdoing.
Former OU School of Drama director Tom Orr and donor John Scamehorn also faced serious allegations of sexual misconduct in 2018. Scamehorn, an OU professor emeritus in chemical engineering at the time, eventually cut ties to the university. More than two years after allegations against him surfaced, Orr was still on internal administrative leave as a professor in January, per OU officials.
John Schwandt, the former director of OU’s American Organ Institute, left the university in 2019 after reports that at least six students and at least three faculty and staff had filed Title IX complaints against him.
In 2020, the university made significant changes to its Title IX Office and investigative protocols.
(Update: This article was updated at 2:45 p.m. Friday, Aug. 20, to clarify the timeline of the events discussed. It was updated again at 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 22, to correct reference to Scamehorn’s professorship.)