The school president sent a letter to students, faculty and staff stating that this woman’s claim of sexual harassment against Rodriguez could not be confirmed by the university, but other information found during the investigation led to the decision to fire the coach.
The accuser has filed a Notice Of Claim, to the tune of $7.5 million which basically is a notice that a lawsuit is forthcoming, with the Arizona Attorney General’s Office.
She details the basis of multi-million dollar notice of claim.
Some of the details in the claim, as reported by the Tuscon Star, include:
“The Hideaway Book” and the “Triangle of Secrecy” were set up to help hide Rodriguez’s misdeeds. Wilhelmsen who filed the claim was part of the triangle, and repeatedly expected to cover for Rodriguez while he had an extramarital affair.
Players on the team sent the woman pictures of their genitals and when she asked Rodriguez to intervene, he ignored her.
In a Notice of Claim filed with the Attorney General’s Office,Melissa Wilhelmsen a married mother accused coach Rodriguez of touching her breast while trying to kiss her and suggestively grabbing his own penis while alone with her. s
Wilhelmsen is planning to sue Rodriguez for $7.5 million, claiming that she was sexually harassed by the 54-year-old and forced to endure a hostile work environment where she was asked to lie and keep secrets during the six years she worked for him at the University of Arizona.
Accuser Melissa Wilhelmsen [left], claims that working for coach Rich Rodriguez at Arizona University resulted in migraines and nearly ended her marriage
In January 2017, Rodriguez began telling her about his marital problems with wife Rita, saying that he needed to be with someone who is passionate. He grabbed Wilhelmsen, “embraced her, touched the side of her breast and tried to kiss her,” but she pulled away and moved her head, Wilhelmsen said.
Two weeks after the incident, Rodriguez told Wilhelmsen he wanted to “take care of her” and tried to give her $300 cash, which she refused.
On February 22, Rodriguez called Wilhelmesen into his office and had her close the door, after which she saw that he was “grasping his penis beneath his basketball shorts.” Rodriguez continued to carry on a normal conversation with Wilhelmesen, who said that she “just looked down until he was through talking.” She told another employee about the incident, after which they began referring to Rodriguez as “the predator.”
On another occasion, Wilhelmsen states that she caught Rodriguez “ogling” her and said, ‘no, you can’t do that … that’s not cool,’ but she claims his behavior only got worse.
Other coaches made inappropriate comments about the woman’s clothing and her daughter, who also worked for the football team, saying her daughter was having sex with players.
Rodriguez changed his workout schedule so he would walk back to his office shirtless, and past his administrative assistant.
She also had to field a call complaining that Rodriguez had made unwanted sexual advances towards a massage therapist, but because of the “Triangle of Secrecy” she was expected to conceal it.
The extremely uncomfortable working conditions made the comment “Title IX doesn’t exist in this office” a common joke around the office.
Wilhelmsen told her husband the truth about the torturous office environment and they decided she needed to look for another job, regardless of the financial fallout or the risk to her daughter’s job with the athletic department.
Wilhelmsen decided against reporting the behavior to the athletic department she said, because she feared that “many other coaches and staff members would probably lose their jobs” as a result.
Family man: Rich Rodriguez and his wife Rita. The couple have married for nearly three decades
After she left for a new job, Wilhelmsen was reminded about the harassment in a later conversation with a football booster and realized “her good name was now slandered through the university,” according to the claim.
On Jan 2, university president Robert C. Robbins and athletic director Dave Heeke issued a statement: ‘This evening, we informed Head Football Coach Rich Rodriguez that we have terminated his employment effective immediately and will honor the separation terms of his contract,’ read a letter sent to students and faculty by Robbins and Heeke.
That letter went on to reveal that an investigation had been conducted by the school beginning last October after Rodriguez was accused of sexual harassment by a former assistant.
Melissa Wilhelmsen [left], has filed a $7.5 million Notice Of Claim against Arizona Univ. and coach Rich Rodriguez [seen right] with wife of 28 years Rita, their daughter Raquel and son Rhett who is also on the Arizona University football team
By the time ‘the investigation concluded on December 28, 2017, [the school probe] found
Rodriguez ‘fully cooperated’ with the investigation he said on Twitter and submitted to and passed a polygraph test, while his accuser refused to speak with the team looking into the claims or ‘turn over communications that she alleged provided support for her allegations.’
‘The investigation, which concluded on December 28, 2017, found that the original specific harassment allegations against Mr. Rodriguez could not be substantiated based on the evidence and witnesses available to it,’ read the letter sent out on Tuesday.
‘However, Arizona Athletics did become aware of information, both before and during the investigation, which caused it to be concerned with the direction and climate of the football program.’
Rodriguez is claiming that the ‘information’ referenced by the school is a ‘consensual extramarital affair’ he had in the past with a non-university employee.
‘It was wrong and I apologized to my wife and family,’ said Rodriguez, who has been married to wife Rita for 28 years and has two college-aged children, Raquel and Rhett.
And in addition to all this, the assistant who has accused Rodriguez of sexual harassment is now filing a $7.5 million lawsuit against her former boss.
Rodriguez’s contract was set to run through the end of the 2020 recruitment season, and USA Today reported in December that he was the fifth highest paid coach in college football.
As a result, he will likely be leave his position with a payoff of $6.48 million.