Yesterday, we brought you the story of Peter Gray, an athletics adviser at the University of Iowa recently investigated by his employer. The university found evidence of long-term sexual harassment of students and cases of Gray bartering for sex with tickets to Iowa sporting events. The complaint against Gray listed among his misdeeds a propensity to show up at, and be inappropriate in, "local establishments that are frequented by student-athletes," and after our post, a former University of Iowa undergrad e-mailed us with a couple stories about Peter Gray out and about in Iowa City. Our tipster wasn't affiliated with the athletic department while he was at the school, but was familiar with Gray for reasons that we'll let him explain:
I have known Peter Gray ("Dr. Pete" as he's known around the local gay bars) for several years.
Naturally, we asked for a little elaboration. Here's what we got. Studio 13 is, indeed, a real gay bar in Iowa City—we tried to get in touch yesterday but it was late on a Saturday, and two calls to their Google Voice line went unanswered. The bar is a seven minute drive from the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics at UI. The following is slightly condensed:
In Iowa City, there's one local gay bar in town called Studio 13. I'm not gay but I go there pretty frequently with my gay friends to hang out with them. Most of the time when I'm there there was this very intimidating, tall, bald ultra-bear of a guy named Dr. Pete, who always looked out of place in a gay bar full of young people. A few times when I would be ordering a drink or apart from my friends he would approach me and start making small talk, with the look in his eyes that he wanted to seduce me. At first this really creeped me out, but later on I spoke with him at length over cigarettes, at which point he learned that I was straight and we got to know each other a bit (we always joked about the fact that he wanted to have sex with me, even though we both knew it wouldn't happen). There would be times when I wouldn't return to Studio for several months at a time, but he would always remember my name and the conversation we last had, which always impressed me.
Interestingly, once over a cigarette I asked him if the University athletic department ever treated him differently because of of the fact that he was so openly gay, and he said something to the effect that he told them this when they hired him, and they said they didn't care about his sexuality as long as he didn't get into legal trouble and get his name all over the newspapers because of it (which it looks like that's exactly what happened in this case).
So, to sum things up, I've gotten to know him over the past 2-3 years by bumping into him and talking to him at the gay bar, where he was a fixture in the gay community as Dr. Pete, the notorious twink hunter (although he is very upfront about trying to go home with people, he's never pushy/manipulative and frequently makes self-deprecating jokes about his sex life). While some might instantly write him off for this unabashed twink hunting, I've come to know him as one of the nicest, most honest people I've met in the Iowa City gay scene, and I'm trying to wrap my head around the fact that he let his sexual exploits go too far and get mixed up with his career.
In a follow-up, our tipster noted that Gray "frequently wore Hawkeye athletic garb" at Studio 13. The weirdest part? That, when Gray mentioned his sexual orientation to the University of Iowa athletic department during his interview, they accepted it on the condition that he not tarnish the reputation of the university with a public sex scandal—a flatly homophobic assumption, leading to a warning which, by coincidence, turned out to be both eerily prescient and totally insufficient.
University of Iowa officials are still declining to comment on Gray's resignation.