The news Friday that University of Minnesota athletic director Norwood Teague had resigned after allegations of sexual harassment had simmered somewhat over the weekend.
That is, until Sunday night, when Amelia Rayno, who covers the Gophers’ men’s basketball team for the Minneapolis Star Tribune, wrote a story claiming that Teague had harassed her as well.
Teague’s harassment of Rayno was verbal, at times physical and also came in the form of text messages, according to Rayno’s report. The alleged harassment heightened after a December 2013 party for an outgoing University of Minnesota communications director. At one point after the party, after Teague had learned Rayno had broken up with her boyfriend, he told her, “Don’t deny our chemistry.” Later, he pressed up against her in the back of a taxi. When she got home that night, Rayno said she vomited.
Rayno’s report included an editor’s note in which the Star Tribune said it confirmed Rayno’s allegations and had reviewed human resources documents. Teague declined to comment to the Star Tribune for the story, but University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler released a statement, which said in part:
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.
Teague’s resignation comes on the heels of allegations from two unnamed female co-workers claiming Teague drunkenly groped them and sent them lewd and graphic text messages during a recent gathering. In the text messages, Teague asked one of the women to skinny dip and engage in oral sex, according to transcripts released by the university.
Teague, who was hired in April 2012, has apologized for sending the text messages to the two female co-workers and said he will seek help for his alcohol problem.
“I behaved badly towards nice people and sent truly inappropriate texts,” Teague said in a statement to TV station KARE 11. “I’m embarrassed and I apologize to everyone involved. This neither reflects my true character or the true character of this great, great university.”
Beth Goetz, deputy athletic director and senior woman administrator at Minnesota, has been named interim athletic director.
Almost immediately after Rayno’s report was published Sunday night, she received support from several colleagues in journalism, both men and women.
One of Rayno’s colleagues at the Star Tribune, Rachel Blount, wrote on Twitter that Rayno’s story brought back memories of her encounter with former Minnesota North Stars owner Norm Green. Blount tweeted that when she covered the NHL team, Green allegedly “tried to kiss me, pawed at me, often commented on my appearance.” Like Rayno, Blount worried that if she came forward with her allegations, her access to the team would be limited, and she might have been taken off the beat. She then tweeted:
I hope our male colleagues understand: this is not funny. It's scary. It's horrifying. And women need your support to make it stop.— Rachel Blount (@BlountStrib) August 10, 2015
UPDATE: Rayno wrote Monday that her story was “the hardest thing I’ve ever written” and thanked those for their “overwhelming support.”
This was the hardest thing I've ever written, but I'm happy that it's continuing a conversation that needs to be had. http://t.co/64T1WbiEXz— Amelia Rayno (@AmeliaRayno) August 10, 2015
Thanks to everyone who has extended overwhelming support. I want to respond to everyone but the outpouring has been extensive. I'm grateful.— Amelia Rayno (@AmeliaRayno) August 10, 2015