Star Tribune sports reporter comes forward with accusations of sexual harassment

Minneapolis Star Tribune

Days after University of Minnesota Athletic Director Norwood Teague resigned from his position amid claims of sexual harassment, a reporter for the nearby Minneapolis Star Tribune has come forward with her own harrowing story.

In an account corroborated by the newspaper, Star Tribune sports reporter Amelia Rayno on Tuesday recalled being harassed by Teague in-person and via text message.

Since coming to the university, Teague had presented himself to the media as someone who was a good source and not afraid to get blunt. For a reporter, that was extremely valuable. After he arrived, and before Dec. 13, 2013, he and I had drinks five to seven times, all but one of those occasions in a group setting. I also attended several cocktail parties at his house. I was happy to have such a useful window into the program. We talked about basketball, coaches and his plans for the department.

So I agreed to have that drink. But this December night was different. Teague asked me about my longtime boyfriend, as he often did. My mistake was acknowledging that we had just broken up. The switch flipped. Suddenly, in a public and crowded bar, Teague tried to throw his arm around me. He poked my side. He pinched my hip. He grabbed at me. Stunned and mortified, I swatted his advances and firmly told him to stop. He didn’t.

Rayno notes that this wasn't the only time Teague had made unwelcome advances, recalling that the situation became worse each time.

When I had to call Teague for a quote, he would often afterward say, “You owe me.” He suggested I travel with the Gophers summer caravan to “get more scoops.” He once asked if I was going to Dallas for the Final Four. When I replied that our newspaper was not covering it because of budget issues, he texted: “I have other options to get u there in style.’’ And when I declined to meet him if he suggested a drink he would text things like “R u pouting?” and “The colonel is coming after you.”

Not sure of how to handle the situation, Rayno then contacted the human resources department at the Star Tribune. She was presented with three options: "contacting Teague directly to demand that he cease the inappropriate behavior; contacting Teague’s superiors to inform them of his behavior; changing beats; or, at my suggestion, waiting to see if the behavior continued before taking action."

After news of Teague's resignation surfaced, Rayno regretted her decision not to do more out of fear for her career.

Had all of this developed now, I might have handled it differently. That’s why, in light of the brave women who did step up, I decided to put my name behind my story in hopes that it will never happen again.

Correction: Due to an editing error, the Star Tribune's name was hyphenated. It has been corrected.

  • Gurman Bhatia

    I report, write and produce interactives for Poynter.org as the institute's 2015 Google Journalism Fellow. Tweet me @gurmanbhatia or email at gbhatia@poynter.org.

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