By Jim DeFede

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Mark Rosenberg, who abruptly resigned as the president of Florida International University on Friday, acknowledged that he stepped down because “I caused discomfort for a valued employee.”

“I unintentionally created emotional (not physical) entanglement,” Rosenberg said in a statement released publicly Sunday morning.

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CBS Miami has learned that Rosenberg subjected the woman to unwanted sexual advances for months, starting in October 2021. In private conversations, Rosenberg expressed his desire to have a romantic relationship with her, even promising to take care of her.

The university employee is in her 20s. Rosenberg is 72.

When the overtures were first made, according to a source briefed on the ongoing investigation, the woman told Rosenberg that she was not interested in a physical or romantic relationship with him. He reportedly apologized and promised not to bring the matter up again.

However, he renewed his advances a short time later. Once again, the woman rebuffed him and told him he was acting inappropriate and that his actions made her feel uncomfortable. Yet again, Rosenberg apologized, and promised not to do it again.

Nevertheless, by December, Rosenberg was still professing his desire to be with her. On December 14, the woman told a colleague about what had been occurring. She said because of Rosenberg’s behavior she wasn’t sure she could keep working at the university. This is believed to be the first time the woman told anyone within the university of what had been happening.

After Rosenberg became aware the woman had told someone within the university about his actions, he reported his conduct to the chairman of the Board of Trustees, Dean Colson. An investigation was started the same day.

“It was not a consensual relationship,” said a second source familiar with the investigation. “It was harassment.”

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The woman was initially reluctant to cooperate with the investigation. She eventually hired an attorney and met with university officials last week corroborating the allegations against Rosenberg. (CBS Miami is deliberately not identifying the woman. Efforts to contact her have been unsuccessful.)

The preliminary results of the investigation were completed on Thursday and Rosenberg was given the choice to either resign or be terminated by the board. He resigned and an emergency board meeting was held on Friday to appoint an interim president. In his initial statement to the community on Friday, Rosenberg said he was stepping down due to health issues.

As reporters began trying to determine the actual reason why he stepped down, Rosenberg released another statement on Sunday saying he has been seeking mental health counseling because of the stress over his wife’s failing health. He wrote that his wife of 47 years is diabetic, wheelchair bound and suffering from dementia.

“Regrettably, these issues spilled over to my work, and I caused discomfort for a valued colleague,” he wrote. “I have apologized. I apologize to you. I take full responsibility. And regret my actions.”

The internal investigation is continuing.

“There is an internal massive investigation into this,” said the second source familiar with the investigation. “At a minimum there are text messages and other forms of communication.”

The university hired Eric Isicoff, from the law firm Isicoff Ragatz to lead the investigation. It is unclear if any of the sexual advances or inappropriate comments by Rosenberg are in the text messages.

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“Mark Rosenberg is not at the university because of his own doing,” said another senior university official.

Jim DeFede