Amelia Rayno, who covers college sports for the Star Tribune, revealed in a column published online Sunday evening that former Gophers athletic director Norwood Teague harassed her repeatedly over a period of several months.
She said she decided to write publicly about the situation since Teague resigned on Friday after admitting he harassed two female University of Minnesota employees.
Rayno described how she had been in social settings with Teague on several occasions as part of her work as a sports reporter. One night in December 2013, they had drinks after a party, and she mentioned she'd just broken up with her boyfriend.
"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 followed her out of the bar and into a cab, grabbing at her arm and trying to press against her.
After that incident, she said Teague continued texting her and kept up the suggestive language when she talked to him on business. Eventually, she stopped speaking to him unless it was absolutely necessary, and she avoided him "at all costs."
"Losing meaningful access to an athletic director isn’t a situation a college reporter wants to find herself in, but to me it was the best of all the bad options," she wrote.
In April 2014, Rayno reported the harassment to the Star Tribune's human resources department. She said she decided not to file a formal complaint with the university for fear it would harm her career.
Rayno wrote that she has barely spoken to Teague in the past year, and he no longer texts her.
Why she came forward now
Rayno said she regrets not taking stronger action when the harassment occurred.
"At the time, I was still fairly green on my first real beat and, frankly, unprepared for something like this. I wasn’t bold enough in my reaction. Had all of this developed now, I might have handled it differently. That’s why, in light of the brave women who did step up, I decided to put my name behind my story in hopes that it will never happen again."
Teague did not respond to the Star Tribune's request for comment.
U of M President Eric Kaler responded, in part:
"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. ... We will look into whether any university employees who have a responsibility to report these kinds of concerns were aware of the incidents."
Swift and vocal reaction
Rayno's column caused a stir on social media - spurring discussions over whether others will come forward with complaints against Teague; whether university officials knew more about Teague's behavior than has been revealed; and how people should respond to sexual harassment in the workplace.
Many are also praising Rayno's decision to make her story public. Here's a sampling of those reactions:
One of Rayno's colleagues at the Star Tribune, Rachel Blount, revealed in a series of tweets how she was similarly harassed years ago while covering the North Stars: