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Rich Rodriguez's daughter defends father from allegations, reveals alleged texts with accuser

Posted at 1:57 PM, Jan 04, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-04 21:07:45-05

Rich Rodriguez's daughter took to Twitter on Thursday to defend her father from sexual harassment allegations and reveal an alleged text conversation with his accuser.

Raquel Rodriguez, a senior at UA and a member of the university's cheerleading squad, posted a note via Twitter on Thursday that the sexual harassment charges against Rich Rodriguez are "ridiculous" and said the claim filed against the former UA head football coach has caused her family a great deal of pain.

Rodriguez was fired by UA on Tuesday, just days after a notice of claim was filed against Rodriguez by a former administrative assistant. The claim alleges the accuser was harassed by Rodriguez in several instances while she worked at UA from 2011-17 and includes explicit details of their relationship. The accuser and her husband are seeking $7.5 million in damages.

"First off, I would like to say thank you to all the people that have reached out and supported myself and my family. It means the world to me and words cannon fully express my gratitude," Raquel Rodriguez's note began.

"Second of all, I want to address the false and ridiculous claims of sexual harassment made by Melissa Wilhelmsen about my family and other people involved in the program. It specifically breaks my heart that my mother and I were extremely nice and supportive to her at all times and did nothing but treat her with respect, yet it seems to have meant nothing to her. I will never understand her actions. She is hurting my entire family, the other staff members and their families, the Arizona football team, the entire university, and sadly all the true victims of sexual harassment.

"I have this text conversation between her and I the day she announced she was leaving the program. You be the judge whether or not this was a woman that hated going to work every day in such a 'hostile environment.'"

Raquel Rodriguez's message included that alleged text conversation, in which she congratulated the accuser on taking another job and said, "you will always be a part of our family."

The recipient of the text message responded, "I love you guys so much and am so grateful for all you guys have done for me as well!" and said "I'm only a phone call away."

Shortly after UA made an official announcement of Rodriguez's firing, Rodriguez took to Twitter himself to deny the sexual harassment claims while admitting he had an extramarital affair.

Rodriguez was hired as Arizona's head football coach following the 2011 football season by then-UA athletic director Greg Byrne, who left Arizona to become the athletic director at Alabama in January of 2017.

Rich Rodriguez and his wife Rita have two children. Their son Rhett joined the UA football team as a quarterback before the 2017 season.