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Copyright 2018 The Arizona Daily Star. All Rights Reserved.

Arizona Daily Star (Tucson)


Lawyers for the University of Arizona and fired football coach Rich Rodriguez have denied virtually every claim in an amended federal lawsuit filed by a woman who was abused by former UA running back Orlando Bradford.

The lawsuit, originally filed in October, says that the UA knew Bradford was dangerous toward women but failed to take appropriate action to stop further attacks.

The suit was amended in February, after Rodriguez and the UA were named in claims of sexual harassment and hostile work environment filed by Rodriguez's former administrative assistant. The coach was fired Jan. 2, the same day the notice of claim was made public.

Related: Lawsuit: Arizona Indifferent to Claims of Player's Abuse

The amendment says that Rodriguez "personally instituted and enforced a set of shadow policies" for the football team that "effectively suspended the enforcement" of laws that protect students and employees from domestic violence, sexual assault and sexual harassment.

Rodriguez "in particular" was aware of Bradford's history of attacks on female UA students and was aware that no steps had been taken to discipline Bradford, the lawsuit says.

Attorneys for the UA responded to the original lawsuit days after it was filed, denying most of the claims in the suit, including Rodriguez's reported "zero-tolerance" policy towards domestic violence.

In their most recent response, attorneys for the UA denied the new information in the lawsuit.

Rodriguez's attorneys also denied all the claims, including his knowledge of Bradford's past acts.

UA police reports show that several months before Bradford's arrest in connection with assaulting two ex-girlfriends, a third woman had reported his behavior to campus police, saying he'd previously choked her.

Bradford was issued a no-contact order and moved out of the dorms.

Upon his arrest in September 2016, Bradford was dismissed from the team and Rodriguez said, "We have a rule. You put your hands on a woman, you're done. That's it. If you did it, if you put your hands on a woman in any way, shape or form, you're done. Next."

"Defendants exercised reasonable care to prevent and promptly correct any sexually harassing behavior," the lawsuit says, adding that the victim also failed to take advantage of preventative opportunities or to "otherwise avoid harm."

Bradford, who was sentenced to five years in prison in November, recently filed a notice in Pima County Superior Court, saying that he had ineffective counsel.

This is one of two lawsuits filed by Bradford's victims in connection with the UA's response to reports of his violent behavior.

Last month, a bipartisan group of U.S. senators proposed legislation that would hold campus leaders responsible for sexual abuse that occurs on their watch.

The Accountability of Leaders in Education to Report Title IX Investigations Act would require university presidents to certify each year that they've reviewed all sexual misconduct incidents reported to the campus' Title IX coordinator. Presidents would also have to certify that they haven't interfered with the investigations into those incidents.

Credit: Caitlin Schmidt Arizona Daily Star

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