U women alleging sexual harassment by Teague come forward

Norwood Teague
In this Oct. 10, 2013, file photo, Minnesota athletic director Norwood Teague spoke at a news conference in Minneapolis. The University of Minnesota announced Friday, Aug. 7, 2015, that Teague submitted his resignation after three years on the job.
Carlos Gonzalez | Star Tribune via AP

Updated 8:00 p.m. | Posted 3:53 p.m.

The two high-level University of Minnesota employees who filed sexual harassment complaints against ex-athletic director Norwood Teague went public Thursday, calling Teague's behavior frightening and saying they feared there would be other victims.

Erin Dady and Ann Aronson are part of President Eric Kaler's senior leadership team. They said in a statement they had intended to keep their identities confidential but that it became impossible after Teague sent an email inside and outside the university.

The email disclosed that "these incidents of unwelcome sexual advances and verbal and physical sexual misconduct occurred at a University of Minnesota senior leadership retreat," Aronson and Dady said. "With only a dozen women having attended the retreat, our identities have been rumored and speculated about. And some members of the media have sought to discover who we are."

Disclosure of the harassment complaints set off a furor on and off campus. Teague said at the time he'd had "entirely too much to drink. I behaved badly towards nice people and sent truly inappropriate texts."

The U released a chronology after Aronson and Dady's statement Thursday that says the alleged incidents happened the evening of July 15. The women separately reported what happened to Kaler's chief of staff the next day. The U president was told later on the 16th during a "drive back to the Twin Cities."

The chronology shows Kaler held separate meetings with Dady, Aronson and Teague on July 17. Kaler also consulted with the University's Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action office.

Ten days and more interviews later, Kaler told Teague the EOAA office "will hire [an] outside investigator." Teague told Kaler of his plans to resign on Aug. 1.

A redacted transcript of the investigation and text messages released by the U when Teague's resignation was made public showed the graphic nature of that harassment.

The investigative transcript includes passages where Teague pursues a woman with questions about whether she would cheat on her spouse and repeatedly pinches her buttocks and touches her inappropriately during a university event, to the point where she felt "shaken" and "a little fearful if others had not been there."

Copies of text messages reveal a conversation that began pleasantly but degenerated into Teague asking a woman to let him perform oral sex on her.

The U launched a broad investigation into Teague's behavior while he led university athletics after the Aronson and Dady complaints were followed by a Star Tribune sports reporter's disclosure that Teague had sexually harassed her.

"Sexual harassment is a predatory act," Dady and Aronson said in their statement Thursday. "Having too much to drink does not excuse it. It's a problem that continues to plague our institutions and our working lives despite programs and training designed to suppress it. The only way to eliminate it is to call attention to it when you see it or experience it."

Teague's behavior was "frightening and wrong," they added. "We believed there would be others, and we felt a duty to help protect them."

They also said they went public to make it easier for those who are sexually harassed to come forward. At the same time, the women asked for privacy "and the privacy of others who decide to take such action."

The U said there would be no additional comment and no interviews granted.

Kaler in a statement said he applauded the women's courageousness.

"They have placed their own personal privacy at risk to prevent this from happening to others," Kaler said. "They and anyone who bravely faced sexual harassment and assault should be supported and considered role models by all of us."

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