Ex-coach Rich Rod claims extortion by former assistant

Ex-coach Rich Rod claims extortion by former assistant
The University of Arizona fired football coach Rich Rodriguez on Tuesday, Jan. 2.

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Former Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez said a sexual harassment claim by his former administrative assistant is a "sensationalized tale" created to extort him.

His attorneys filed a response to the Attorney General of Arizona on Monday, Feb. 26.

The University of Arizona fired Rodriguez Jan. 2, a week after lawyers for former administrative assistant Melissa Wilhelmsen filed a notice of claim alleging he ran a hostile workplace.

Wilhelmsen contends that while working for Rodriguez she was forced to cover his extramarital affair. She adds there were several instances when he inappropriately touched her, tried to kiss her, and made inappropriate comments.

In the amended claim Wilhelmsen accused the former coach and his wife of slander, defamation and false light, invasion of privacy, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Wilhelmsen's $8.5 million suit also alleges the university knew about Rodriguez's conduct and did nothing to stop it.

In the 25-page filing, Rodriguez said the women and her husband were trying to use her knowledge of his affair to extort him.

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