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Claim: Arizona football coach groped himself in front of staffer, failed to help player who died

Claim: Coach groped self in front of staffer
Claim: Coach groped self in front of staffer
Posted at 8:49 AM, Jan 04, 2018

Former Arizona Wildcats head football coach Rich Rodriguez did nothing to help prevent the death of one of his players in 2016, according to a notice of claim filed against Rodriguez last week. The claim also alleges that Rodriguez sexually harassed a female staffer and forced her to cover up an extramarital as part of her job.

Rodriguez was fired by Arizona on Tuesday night following a USA TODAY report regarding workplace misconduct allegations against Rodriguez.

Arizona offensive lineman Zach Hemmila died in his sleep in August 2016. His death was later revealed to be a result of a combination of a painkiller and anti-anxiety medication.

The claim also alleges Rodriguez had a "demand for secrecy" that included "doing nothing about a player that needed help."

Read the entire claim here.

According to the claim, the evening before Hemmila's death, former Arizona director of on-campus recruiting Matt Dudek "had taken Zach to Rodriguez telling him that something was wrong with Zach and needed help. But Rodriguez did nothing simply saying, 'he'll be fine.' Rodriguez's knowledge of the extent of Zach's issues was another secret (the accuser) had to keep."

On Dec. 28, a multi-million-dollar claim was filed against Rodriguez by a former female administrative assistant who claimed Rodriguez created a hostile work environment and harassed her in several instances from 2011 to 2017.

The claim also alleges that the accuser was harassed by Rodriguez in several instances, as she worked for him from 2011 until 2017.

The accuser and her husband are seeking $7.5 million in damages from Rodriguez, his wife, and their marital community. 

According to the claim, the accuser and two other employees, who referred to themselves as 'The Triangle of Secrecy' were forced to lie to Rodriguez' wife to "cover up his indiscretions, primarily his extramarital affair."

On Tuesday night, Rodriguez posted to Twitter that he had a consensual extramarital affair with a woman who was not affiliated with the university. 

In November 2015, the claim alleges that Rodriguez asked the accuser to get a sideline pass for his girlfriend for a game against the University of Southern California. During the game, the accuser noticed that Rodriguez' wife was also on the sideline and at some point, she had to stand between the two, "hoping to avoid a confrontation," the claim alleges. 

Months later in May of 2016, Rodriguez' wife had asked the accuser out to lunch. The lunch became an "interrogation of sorts," to probe what the accuser knew about her husband's promiscuity and flirting, according to the claim. 

By March of 2017, the accuser asked to be transferred to another department after she encountered multiple instances of sexual harassment from Rodriguez. 

In one particular incident, Rodriguez had asked the accuser to get a pair of underwear for him from the equipment area.

The accuser had another employee deliver the underwear as she was trying to avoid the situation. Rodriguez then made comments to the accuser on how his preferred underwear "visually enhanced" his genitalia when worn, the claim says. 

In February of 2017, Rodriguez had called the accuser into his office and told her to close the door. After she closed the door, she looked up to see Rodriguez grasping his genitals underneath his basketball shorts, which had been pulled all the way up, according to the claim. 

Rodriguez spoke to the accuser while still holding himself. After the incident, the accuser called another employee and both began calling him "the predator." 

On the accuser's last day of work in August of 2017, Rodriguez' wife had cornered the accuser in the office and had demanded to know the truth about her husband's girlfriend, the claim says. 

The accuser told Rodriguez' wife that she had known about the girlfriend and had apologized for not letting her know sooner. 

After his termination on Tuesday, Rodriguez tweeted that he had fully cooperated with the university's investigation. 

In a statement co-signed by University of Arizona President Robert Robbins and Arizona Athletic Director Dave Heeke, "the original specific harassment allegations against Mr. Rodriguez could not be substantiated based on the evidence and witnesses available to it."