Head UC Berkeley basketball coach Cuonzo Martin allegedly knew of the allegations of sexual harassment against his assistant coach, Yann Hufnagel, two months before he alerted university officials reports the Chronicle. The allegations of sexual harassment were first brought to the attention of school officials last July, notes an internal university report, but emails obtained by the paper reportedly show Martin was aware of the harassment two months prior.
Hufnagel, who was fired Monday, has denied the allegations against him.
The unidentified individual accusing Hufnagel of sexual harassment is a reporter with an unknown news outlet. She alleges that when she rebuffed his sexual advances, he cut off her access to the team, thus preventing her from doing her job and ultimately leading to her dismissal.
Hufnagel admitted to university investigators his intention to have sex with the reporter.
“With all candor," Hufnagel told investigators, "I was trying to trick her into going upstairs.”
"Let me the fuck out of here," she says she demanded of Hufnagel after he allegedly trapped her in his parking garage and “talked about oral sex.” The reporter claims she gave Hufnagel a ride home from a bar because he was too drunk to drive — a claim he denies.
"The evidence gathered was weighed by a preponderance of evidence standard," reads the summary of the university's investigation. "It supports the conclusion that [Hufnagel] behaved in violation of the Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence Policy."
That head coach Cuonzo Martin may have known about the alleged sexual harassment months before passing that information along to university officials fits into a disturbing pattern of UC Berkeley employees slow to act on matters of sexual harassment. Concern over Martin's handling of the situation is real enough, reports the Chronicle, that the university intends to open an investigation into his actions.
“To dispel any doubts about Coach Martin’s role, the university will be initiating a review of all of the documents and communications related to his actions," the paper reports UC Berkeley Athletic Director Mike Williams as saying yesterday. "We firmly believe the results will support our confidence in Coach Martin.”
The Chronicle reports that Martin, while admitting the reporter contacted him in May about problems with Hufnagel, told investigators the actions she described did not constitute sexual harassment. The reporter disputes this claim.