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Sportswriter accuses former Univ. of Minnesota AD of sexual harrassment

Former Minnesota athletic director Norwood Teague, who resigned Friday amid allegations of sexual harassment, now has been accused of making sexual advances toward a Minneapolis sportswriter.

Amelia Rayno, the Gophers men’s basketball reporter for the Star Tribune, said in a column Monday that Teague touched and harassed her and then got into a cab with her and continued to accost her during an incident on Dec. 13, 2013.

Rayno, who is the third woman to accuse Teague of sexual harassment in recent days, said the meeting with the then-athletic director began as a simple drink arranged on professional terms.

“Having a drink with a source is not at all unusual, and I didn’t feel being a woman compromised me because I was there solely for work purposes,” Rayno wrote.

“So I agreed to have that drink. But this December night was different. Teague asked me about my longtime boyfriend, as he often did. My mistake was acknowledging that we had just broken up. The switch flipped. 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.”

Rayno said Teague’s behavior then escalated.

“‘Don’t deny,’ he said, ‘our chemistry,'” Rayno wrote. “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.’ The incident wasn’t the first with Teague.”

Rayno said Teague also had sent her suggestive text messages prior to that night. The two university employees who had previously accused Teague of sexual harassment cited similar behavior that led to his resignation.

“When he first arrived at the university we would communicate via texts, mostly about athletics,” Rayno wrote. “But over time the tone of the messages slowly changed, particularly at night. He would pepper work talk with comments that at first felt weird and eventually unacceptable. Once, he called me ‘cute.’ Another night, after I declined meeting for a drink, he asked me if I was wearing pajamas.”

School president Eric Kaler said Friday that Teague’s resignation “follows the report of two recent incidents of sexual harassment of two non-student University employees.”

In a sexual harassment complaint filed by a university employee, she said Teague sent texts to one woman asking her to go skinny dipping and to perform oral sex. He also was accused of inappropriate touching and unwelcome physical advances.

Kaler announced Friday that Beth Goetz, deputy athletic director and senior women’s administrator who worked at Butler before her arrival at Minnesota in 2013, would become the interim athletic director.

In a statement to the Star Tribune, Kaler apologized to Rayno.

“I am disappointed to learn of an additional report of sexual harassment against the former director of Gopher Athletics,” Kaler said. “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 told Minneapolis TV station KARE in a prepared statement that he read on the air Friday:

“At a recent University event, I had entirely too much to drink. I behaved badly towards nice people and sent truly inappropriate texts. I’m embarrassed, and I apologize to everyone involved. This neither reflects my true character or the true character of this great, great university.”

Teague also said he “will be seeking help for my alcohol use and … re-evaluating my life and career.”

Teague had been Minnesota’s athletic director since 2012 after spending six years at Virginia Commonwealth. He was leading a $200 million fundraising campaign to build new practice facilities for football and men’s basketball that had raised $70 million in the first year.

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