Former Minnesota athletic director Norwood Teague was forced to resign last week after he sent graphic text messages to female university employees while drinking. Unfortunately, the incidents detailed in a formal complaint to the university do not appear to be isolated.
Amelia Rayno, a sports reporter for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, detailed her own experience. Rayno wrote that she had gotten drinks "five to seven times" with Teague, mostly in group settings, without incident. She used the opportunities to cultivate a valuable source of information for her job.
"I was happy to have such a useful window into the program," Rayno wrote. "We talked about basketball, coaches and his plans for the department."
On Dec. 13, 2013, Rayno told Teague that she had just broken up with a long-time boyfriend, and what had seemed like a professional relationship swiftly changed.
Suddenly, in a public and crowded bar, Teague tried to throw his arm around me. He poked my side. He pinched my hip. He grabbed at me. Stunned and mortified, I swatted his advances and firmly told him to stop. He didn't.
"Don't deny," he said, "our chemistry."
I told him that he was drastically off base, that my only intention in being there was as a reporter - to which he replied: "You're all strictly business? Nothing else?"
I walked out. He followed me. I hailed a cab. He followed me in, grabbing at my arm and scooting closer and closer in the dark back cabin until I was pressed against the door. I told him to stop. I told him it was not OK. He laughed. When I reached my apartment, I vomited.
Later that night he texted: "Night strictly bitness.''
In April 2014, Rayno brought up her experiences with her human resources department. At her suggestion, they decided to wait and see if Teague's behavior would change. Rayno wrote that her decision was one of "self-preservation." Filing a formal complaint might have meant a loss of access to the university.
Spurred by the allegations, Rayno decided to tell her story. She says she has not communicated with Teague since last August.
Minnesota president Eric Kaler released a statement in response to Rayno's story:
I am disappointed to learn of an additional report of sexual harassment against the former director of Gopher Athletics. Our commitment to ensuring a healthy learning, working and living environment at the University extends beyond our faculty, staff, and students. I deeply regret to now learn that a reporter covering the University was also subject to this type of deplorable behavior and I extend a sincere apology to Ms. Rayno.
The two reports that led to Friday's resignation were the first of their kind to be reported to the University's Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Office and President's Office, and the University took swift action. With this latest report, we will look into whether any university employees who have a responsibility to report these kinds of concerns were aware of the incidents.
We take all reports of sexual harassment very seriously and we encourage anyone else who experienced such actions to come forward. They may remain anonymous by reporting through the UReport, our confidential reporting service at 1-866-294-8680 or online at ureport.ethicspoint.com.
Kaler demanded that Teague seek help from a medical professional for alcoholism after hearing the complaints, and barred Teague from making contact with the two women he allegedly harassed. Teague released a statement last Friday apologizing for the incidents and saying that he would be seeking assistance.