Lawyer for woman who accused ex-UA coach issues blistering response

Lawyer for woman who accused ex-UA coach issues blistering response
Former University of Arizona head football coach Rich Rodriguez. (Source: Emily Gauci / Arizona Athletics)

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - The lawyer for the woman who accused former University of Arizona football coach Rich Rodriguez of sexual harassment and running a hostile workplace has issued a blistering response to statements from the former coach and the university.

Augustine B. Jimenez, the lawyer for Melissa Wilhelmsen, issued the following statement Friday, Jan. 5

"On behalf of my client, Melissa Wilhelmsen, I would like to briefly respond to the mischaracterizations and personal attacks made against her in the media regarding the abuse she endured by Rich Rodriguez.

The university fired Rodriguez Tuesday, Jan. 2, a week after a notice of claim was filed with the state attorney general's office alleging he ran a hostile workplace.

According to the Associated Press, the claim was filed Dec. 28 by a former employee. A notice of claim is a legal document that signals a lawsuit will be filed.

In October, the University's Office of Institutional Equity retained outside counsel to investigate the allegations.

That investigation, which concluded last week, did not find enough to fire Rodriguez, but the university said it became concerned with the "climate and direction" of the program.

"The University initiated a thorough outside investigation," Rodriguez said in a statement made on Twitter. "I full cooperated with the investigation, including voluntarily taking and passing a polygraph. The University determined that there was no truth to her accusations and found me innocent of any wrongdoing."

Tucson News Now received a copy of the notice of claim on Wednesday. You can read it HERE or at the bottom of this story.

The complaint was filed by Wilhelmsen, Rodriguez's former administrative assistant, and she is seeking a $7.5 million settlement.

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