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University of Minnesota paid $282,000 to resolve sexual harassment complaints

Former University of Minnesota athletics director Norwood Teague speaks during a news conference after he was introduced to the media in 2012. The University paid $282,000 to resolve two sexual harassment complaints against him. Scott Takushi / St. Paul Pioneer Press

ST. PAUL—The University of Minnesota paid $282,000 to resolve two sexual harassment complaints against former athletics director Norwood Teague, according to newly released documents.

Teague resigned without additional compensation in August 2015 after the university decided to investigate his behavior at a July 15 senior leadership retreat.

Ann Aronson, deputy chief of staff to President Eric Kaler, and Erin Dady, a special assistant to the president, later said publicly that they were the recipients of Teague's unwanted attention.

On Monday, April 30, the university released two settlement agreements with Aronson and Dady. The records show that exactly one year after the retreat, Dady signed a separation agreement awarding her $181,630 — one year's salary. Dady also got a positive reference letter from Kaler and up to a year of employer health care contributions. An additional $25,000 went to her attorney.

Four months later, the school gave Aronson a one-time payout of $50,000 — plus $25,000 to her attorney — to resolve her complaints. Aronson also got a guaranteed three-year appointment instead of a year-to-year employment agreement.

In addition, both women were promised reimbursement for health care costs related to Teague's harassment.

Aronson still works as the university's chief marketing officer.

Bremer Bank announced in November 2017 that Dady would become its chief marketing officer.

The women complained that Teague gave them unsolicited backrubs and pinched them on the buttocks and waist, and he asked one if she'd be open to cheating on her husband. One woman also reported receiving text messages from Teague soliciting oral sex and asking whether she'd go skinny dipping.

In a letter to acquaintances the day he resigned, Teague wrote that he'd "had entirely too much to drink and behaved inappropriately, communicated inappropriately towards colleagues."

Teague has been involved in at least two other large university payouts.

In 2014, the school paid $175,000 to senior associate athletics director Regina Sullivan, who said Teague fired her for questioning his commitment to gender equity in sports. And in 2012, when Teague was athletics director for Virginia Commonwealth University, that school paid $125,000 to resolve a gender discrimination lawsuit brought by women's basketball coach Beth Cunningham.

The university said in a statement Monday that it has strengthened its policies and continues to "work to reinforce a culture that prevents sexual misconduct and aggressively addresses it when it occurs.

"The use of settlements to acknowledge wrongs and attempt to heal wounds is entirely appropriate," it continued.

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