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'The truth will come out': Ex-UA football coach Rich Rodriguez responds to additional claims

'The truth will come out': Ex-UA football coach Rich Rodriguez responds to additional claims
Posted at 3:16 PM, Jan 21, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-21 17:19:35-05

Former Arizona Wildcats football coach Rich Rodriguez said an additional claim filed against him by the same woman who accused him of sexual harassment in late December is "absolutely false," and he's looking forward to sharing his side of the story.

Melissa Wilhelmsen, a former administrative assistant to Rodriguez at UA, filed a $7.5 million claim against Rodriguez on Dec. 28 alleging a number of incidents of harassment from 2011-17. 

The Arizona Daily Star reported Wilhelmsen and her husband filed a separate claim with the Arizona Board of Regents on Friday. They are seeking an additional $8.5 million for "slander, defamation and false light, invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress stemming from Rodriguez and his wife's conduct after his firing, according to the Star. This includes statements Rodriguez made to the UA football team one week after his firing.

UA announced Rodriguez's firing Jan. 2, just hours after allegations of sexual harassment against Rodriguez were revealed in a USA Today story.

The new claim lists Rodriguez, as well as his wife and The University of Arizona, as defendants, according to the Star. On Sunday morning, Rodriguez took to Twitter to issue this statement:

I am aware of the amended complaint and the absolutely false claims. My family and I are eager four our side of the story to be told. The truth will come out and the plantiffs' 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 confirmed I have been truthful throughout the investigation.

Wilhemsen's original claim alleged she and two other UA employees were forced to lie to Rodriguez's wife to "cover up his indiscretions, primarily his extramarital affair." The claim also alleged Rodriguez showed a lack of concern for UA offensive lineman Zach Hemmila, who passed away in 2016 due to a combination of painkillers and anti-anxiety medication.

Rodriguez admitted to the affair but denied other allegations alleged by Wilhelmsen.

"While the second claim lists Rodriguez, his wife and the University of Arizona as defendants, it also mentions by name several athletic department employees who were part of the hostile work environment that Rodriguez 'created and fostered,'" the Star reported.

On Jan. 4, Rodriguez's daughter Raquel defended her father by revealing alleged text messages between her and Wilhemsen.