Ex-Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez faces more allegations

The woman who accused former Arizona football coach Rich Rodriguez of sexual harassment has filed a second notice of claim against Rodriguez, his wife and the University of Arizona seeking $8.5 million.

In the first claim, filed Dec. 29 with the Arizona Attorney General's Office, the woman, Rodriguez's former administrative assistant, alleged Rodriguez ran a hostile work place. She said Rodriguez forced her to keep an extramarital affair secret while also groping and attempting to kiss her, among other actions that made her feel uncomfortable.

Rodriguez was fired Jan. 2, after the university determined it would not be able to fire Rodriguez for cause. The university began investigating the allegations in October. In Arizona, a notice of claim is required to be filed 60 days before a lawsuit can be brought against a public entity or employee.

The initial claim sought $7.5 million and includes an allegation that players on the Arizona football team sent the woman screenshots of their genitalia and illicit overtures via text message and that when she went to Rodriguez to intervene, he ignored her.

The new claim, which includes the woman's husband as a claimant and was filed with the Arizona Board of Regents on Friday, outlines many of the same allegations as the first one but adds allegations of slander, defamation and false light, invasion of privacy, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The couple's lawyer, Augustine B. Jimenez III, wrote that these allegations arose from conduct following Rodriguez's termination by the university and included comments to the team by Rodriguez and his wife, Rita.

In a statement released on Twitter, Rodriguez responded to the second claim.

"I am aware of the amended complaint and the absolutely false claims," it said. "My family and I are eager for our side of the story to be told. The truth will come out and the plaintiffs' motives will be plain to see. It is important to remember that there was an extensive investigation into the matter that found no wrongdoing by me. Additionally, I took an independent polygraph test that confirmed I have been truthful throughout the investigation."

Shortly after being fired, Rodriguez admitted to having an extramarital affair with someone not affiliated with the university but denied any allegations of harassment.

In an address to hundreds of coaches at the American Football Coaches Association convention, which came just days after he was fired, Rodriguez made reference to his personal situation.

"As a coach, many of you have dealt with adversity throughout your careers. You're going to face adversity as a coach on the field and off," Rodriguez said, according to The Athletic. "Some won't even be football-related. It could be an angry parent, a frustrated booster, something with the media, it could be false allegations against you."

The woman and her husband met with someone working on the investigation, the new claim says, but they ended the interview to seek legal counsel.

An email to Rodriguez's attorney, Leo Beus, seeking comment about the new claim was not immediately returned. When contacted after the first claim was filed, Beus told ESPN the allegations were "False. Period."

In a letter outlining the allegations to the Arizona Board of Regents, Jimenez concluded a jury trial could lead to more money than what they are seeking in a settlement.

"If this case were to go to trial, in the current climate where #MeToo is in the headlines on a daily basis, neither male nor female jurors would have any sympathy for a public figure who used his authority and power to oppress and degrade his female assistant in such ways," Jimenez wrote. "Undoubtedly, the verdict could be in the tens of millions of dollars because the jurors would want to send a message to such high-profile and highly paid coaches that such abuses of power are not acceptable."

The document says the couple would accept $8.5 million to settle all claims it has against Rodriguez, his wife and the university.