Michigan State suspends football coach in sexual harassment investigation

0
138

Michigan state university suspended football coach Mel Tucker Sunday after a USA Today article revealed that he was the subject of a sexual harassment investigation. At a press event held on Sunday night, Teresa Woodruff announced that Tucker will be suspended from his job without pay pending the resolution of the Title IX lawsuit. Woodruff said that the decision to suspend Mel Tucker without pay was “necessary and appropriate” in light of current circumstances. The USA Today article revealed that Brenda Tracy, an advocate for sexual violence victims and a survivor of rape, had filed a complaint with the Title IX office in December 2022. In the complaint, she reportedly detailed a phone call she had with Tucker, during which she recalled sitting frozen while he allegedly made sexual comments about her and masturbated, according to USA Today’s description of the complaint.

Tucker and Tracy had formed a working partnership to fight against the culture of sexual violence in sports, according to the USA Today report. They developed a professional relationship centered on the advocacy, over the course of eight months, and Tracy visited the campus three times, in a professional capacity.

Tracy reportedly said the incident reopened decades-old wounds from when she was raped by four men, two Oregon State football players, a junior college player and a recruit, according to USA Today.

“The idea that someone could know me and say they understand my trauma but then re-inflict that trauma on me is so disgusting to me, it’s hard for me to even wrap my mind around it,” she said to USA Today, adding, “It’s like he sought me out just to betray me.”

Tucker reportedly said to the Title IX investigator that the interactions were “consensual” and accused Tracy of distorting their interactions.

“Ms. Tracy’s distortion of our mutually consensual and intimate relationship into allegations of sexual exploitation has really affected me,” Tucker reportedly told the investigator in March of this year, adding, “I am not proud of my judgment and I am having difficulty forgiving myself for getting into this situation, but I did not engage in misconduct by any definition.”

Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.