Early Wednesday evening, former California assistant men's basketball coach Yann Hufnagel released a short statement via Twitter, in response to the termination proceedings set in motion by a report of sexual harassment by a female reporter, who covered the Cal men's basketball team, released by the Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination. In that report, Hufnagel says that he tried to "trick" the Complainant into his apartment to engage in sexual intercourse on the night of Jan. 24, 2015.
The Complainant alleged that Hufnagel engaged in protracted harassment and sexual innuendo over text messages, and that, once, in person, he propositioned her, while keeping her from leaving his apartment garage.
Hufnagel's legal representation, Mary McNamara, of the firm of Swanson & McNamara, in San Francisco, issued the following statement to BearTerritory:
This was a flirtation that never went anywhere – Yann expressed interest in someone who was not a Berkeley student or employee. He never touched her. He is being made an example of because of Berkeley’s response to high-level faculty who groped and assaulted Berkeley students and employees. We are confident that he will be vindicated.
The sexual harassment charges come in the wake of several sexual harassment incidents at UC Berkeley.
Berkeley Law School Dean Sujit Choudhry resigned after a sexual harassment lawsuit, alleging that he hugged, kissed and touched his assistant during 2014 and 2015. He continues to receive full faculty pay and may still teach. Nearly a year ago, in April, Graham Fleming resigned as Vice Chancellor for Research amidst sexual harassment allegations from his top assistant. Fleming, though he went on sabbatical following the allegations, has spent the last 10 months assisting Chancellor Nicholas Dirks with finding research collaborators for Global Campus, but UC President Janet Napolitano ordered him removed from that job last Friday.
McNamara is a 1989 Boalt Hal School of Law graduate (now known as Berkeley Law), who took her Bachelor's degree at Trinity College Dublin, in 1986. Her profile on her firm's website says that she is a trial an appellate lawyer, specializing in white-collar criminal defense and commercial litigation matters. Her biography reads: Northern California Super Lawyer every year since 2003 and has been named one of the top 50 women lawyers in Northern California and top 75 women lawyers in the state of California.
She and her partner Ed Swanson defended BALCO founder Victor Conte in a steroids distribution case "involving allegations of doping by prominent athletes and achieved dismissal of most counts and a four-month prison sentence."
Hufnagel's tweet read, in part: "These last two days have been gut-wrenching. Being ripped away from a team that I love deeply has been, in a word, unbearable. I take these allegations incredibly seriously, but the report is wrong. The outpouring of support has been unwavering and heartfelt. I have hired legal counsel to fight Cal's plan to terminate me."
The Golden Bears will take on Hawaii at 11 a.m., on Friday in Spokane, Wash., as the No. 4 seed in the South Region of the NCAA Tournament.