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Accuser of former Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez files second claim

(AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

The accuser of former Arizona Wildcats coach Rich Rodriguez has filed a second claim asking for a settlement of $8.5 million in addition to a $7.5 million claim filed before the UA head football coach was fired.

On Sunday in a statement released via his Twitter feed, Rodriguez responded to the claim that, according to the Arizona Daily Star, says the school is liable for Rodriguez’s conduct and includes additional accusations against Rodriguez and others at the University of Arizona.

The Arizona Daily Star reports that the plaintiff, Rodriguez’s former assistant Melissa Wilhelmsen, again accuses Rodriguez of assault, sexual harassment and creating a hostile workplace environment.

The school said after firing Rodriguez that it had hired a law firm to investigate the first claim filed by Wilhelmsen. The Arizona Daily Star said the second claim “follows the same timeline” as the first but names several additional University of Arizona employees as defendants, in addition to the school.

It also adds accusations against Rodriguez following the news of the scandal going public.

The second claim was filed on Friday, per the Arizona Daily Star.

It accuses Rodriguez of “slander, defamation and false light, invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress” for Rodriguez and his wife’s comments following his Jan. 2 firing, per the Arizona Daily Star. Part of the new claim involves Rodriguez meeting with his team and defending himself after his firing.

Arizona Daily Star columnist Greg Hansen reported that Rodriguez met with the team on Jan. 9. He spoke alongside his defensive coordinator, Marcel Yates, who was named interim before the school hired Kevin Sumlin as its new football coach.

A claim is filed in advance of a lawsuit.

The Arizona Board of Regents has 60 days to respond to the claim.

Wilhelmsen began working at the school in July 2001 and left for a brief time before returning under then-coach Mike Stoops in 2007. She said any sexual harassment was not permitted under Stoops but that changed when Rodriguez was hired in 2011.

She said the trouble began two years later, when Rodriguez allegedly introduced the “Hideaway Book,” which was for the eyes of a select few in the football program. She alleged the book was designed to create an air of secrecy and included phrases such as “Title IX doesn’t exist in our office.”

Wilhelmsen also said that she and two other employees — Charlie Ragle and Miguel Reveles — were forced to lie about Rodriguez’s indiscretions, including an extramarital affair and making sexual advances at a hotel worker.

She alleged that she was forced to get a field pass for Rodriguez’s girlfriend on at least one occasion and he likely met up with the woman on at least one recruiting trip.

Wilhelmsen said she was questioned about Rodriguez’s affair by his wife several different times.

She also said Rodriguez sexually harassed her on multiple occasions.

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