Rich Rodriguez's former office assistant has filed a lawsuit in federal court in which she alleged assault and intentional infliction of emotional distress against the former Arizona Wildcats football coach.
In a federal lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court of Arizona on Wednesday, Melissa Melendez (formerly Melissa Wilhelmsen), Rodriguez's assistant at The University of Arizona from 2011-17, is seeking compensatory and punitive damages, along with back and front pay and attorney's fees. Melendez did not specify the amount of damages she is seeking in the 15-page suit.
Melendez filed a $7.5 million notice of claim against Rodriguez in December 2017 and an additional $8.5 million notice of claim against UA in January 2018. In the original claim against Rodriguez, Melendez alleged that she was harassed by Rodriguez on several occasions during her time as her assistant.
Rodriguez was named UA's head football coach after the 2011 college football season. He coached the Wildcats from 2012-17 and was fired after the 2017 season. He is now the offensive coordinator at The University of Mississippi.
Following Melendez's notice of claim, Rodriguez took to Twitter to defend himself from her accusations. He later deleted those tweets. In February 2018, Rodriguez's attorney accused Melendez of attempting to extort the former UA coach.
Rodriguez's daughter Raquel also took to social media to defend her father and question Melendez's character.