Accusers in Teague scandal come forward: ‘Sexual harassment is a predatory act’

Ann Aronson
Ann Aronson

The two women who accused recently resigned University of Minnesota Athletics Director Norwood Teague of making sexually inappropriate advances toward them revealed their identities in a statement to the media today.

Ann Aronson and Erin Dady, both part of college president’s Eric Kaler’s inner circle, said they intended to keep their identities confidential when they filed their complaints, but they became subject of speculation after Teague disclosed that the harassment took place at an event with only a dozen women present.  

Aronson works as deputy chief of staff in University President Eric Kaler’s office. Dady left her previous job as St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman’s chief of staff late last year to head up the U’s Office of Government and Community Relations. 

They asked the public to respect their privacy and declined to do any follow-up interviews with media.

“Sexual harassment is a predatory act,” they wrote of Teague. “Having too much to drink does not excuse it. It’s a problem that continues to plague our institutions and our working lives despite programs and training designed to suppress it. The only way to eliminate it is to call attention to it when you see it or experience it.”

Teague, who became the University’s athletic director in 2012, announced his resignation last Friday, citing he “behaved badly toward nice people.”

Erin Dady
Erin Dady

The university later released a redacted complaint showing just how bad Teague’s behavior was; it included a text exchange in which Teague asked one of the women to go skinny dipping with him. She told him to stop, but Teague’s texts only escalated. He said he had a “major CRUSH” on her, and then made lewd references to her body.

Several other allegations against the disgraced Teague have come out since. Earlier this week, the Star Tribune’s Amelia Rayno wrote a personal essay accusing him harassment and sending her inappropriate texts as well.

The two women said they filed complaints against Teague believing there would be others, and they “felt a duty to help protect them.” 

Here’s the full statement sent to media this afternoon:

Statement of Ann Aronson and Erin Dady

We are the two women who filed the initial complaints of sexual harassment and assault by Norwood Teague at the University of Minnesota. We are members of President Kaler’s senior leadership team, and Teague was a colleague of ours on that team.

We felt compelled to report Teague’s behavior because it was frightening and wrong. We believed there would be others, and we felt a duty to help protect them.

When filing our complaints, we intended to keep our identities confidential. It is difficult to report sexual harassment and assault and endure a public examination that includes speculative news coverage. President Kaler strove to maintain our confidentiality and is taking decisive steps to review and investigate all sexual harassment allegations and the climate in Gopher athletics. He has made it clear that the University of Minnesota will not tolerate sexual harassment. For that we are very grateful.

Unfortunately, Teague has sent an email inside and outside of the U of M community, disclosing that these incidents of unwelcome sexual advances and verbal and physical sexual misconduct occurred at a University of Minnesota senior leadership retreat. With only a dozen women having attended the retreat, our identities have been rumored and speculated about. And some members of the media have sought to discover who we are.

We therefore decided to reveal our identities ourselves, today, in this public statement. We ask you to respect our privacy and the privacy of others who decide to take such action.

Sexual harassment is a predatory act. Having too much to drink does not excuse it. It’s a problem that continues to plague our institutions and our working lives despite programs and training designed to suppress it. The only way to eliminate it is to call attention to it when you see it or experience it.

In sharing our story today, we hope to make it easier for those who experience sexual harassment and assault to come forward. We stand with them.

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Comments (14)

  1. Submitted by Bill Schletzer on 08/14/2015 - 06:41 am.

    I don’t get it

    I don’t get how a guy in his position could think his approaches would be successful let alone tolerated. What a creep.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 08/14/2015 - 10:12 am.

      The Reason

      It’s because he is a guy in his position. He had a certain immunity, whether real or perceived, from the consequences that would be suffered by us mere mortals.

    • Submitted by Joe Smithers on 08/14/2015 - 10:20 am.

      tolerated

      Amelia and the Star Tribune tolerated it. That’s how things like this happen. I understand why Amelia didn’t come forward right away since she thought it would adversely affect her career but should the Star Tribune have done something to protect their employee from being harassed? If nobody comes forward to say it is unacceptable or report it then the behavior is tolerated and the perpetrator is made to feel it is acceptable. The only way to stop behaviors like this is to report them and stop them.

      • Submitted by Crystal Brakke on 08/14/2015 - 04:29 pm.

        Respectfully, no.

        Things like this happen because of individuals like Mr. Teague who choose to act in this way.

        As long as there are people – and men, in particular – criticizing victims for what they do or don’t do (instead of asking themselves what systemically needs to change so men stop feeling and acting as though this is something they can do to women) women simply will not feel comfortable speaking out. These are VICTIMS. The burden of responsibility and judgment should not be on them.

        I’ll argue that the only way to stop behaviors like this is to more meaningfully educate men and the criminal justice system so that sexual harassment and assault is seen and understood as the criminal act that it is.

        • Submitted by Joe Smithers on 08/17/2015 - 08:34 am.

          can’t disagree

          I agree with your post but if you have men that are doing this then you can’t be tolerating it at all. If you do then you are making it acceptable. We shouldn’t be doing that at all if you want to stop it from happening. All the education in the world won’t stop these behaviors if you are going to tolerate it when it happens.

          • Submitted by Crystal Brakke on 08/17/2015 - 09:13 am.

            Recommended read

            And I understand your post too, but I think the reality of what far too often happens when women DO step forward is exactly why many, many more do not. Check out Jon Krakauer’s latest book, Missoula. It’s about the way the criminal justice system and institutions of higher education typically respond to sexual assault and rape, and it’s truly horrifying. I believe that if those systems start behaving differently, victims will speak up more.

  2. Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 08/14/2015 - 08:45 am.

    Courageous

    Nearly every woman experiences unwanted advances or some other unwanted experience of a sexual nature. It’s not an easy thing to deal with, and it often goes unreported, especially when it doesn’t result in physical harm or they’re able to leave the situation. However, it’s not uncommon that an individual who makes unwanted advances does it more than once. In this case, the man doing the harassment (he was rebuffed and continued–this is harassment), was a man in power. He has an “in” and this is probably not the first time he used it to get personal access to women he could harass. That these two women said something is probably due to the fact that they were his peers, not his subordinates or otherwise subject to any of his decisions in his professional role. Still, it’s pretty brave of them. As “forward” a society as we have here, it’s not so forward that women feel safe reporting such behavior. There are plenty of people, men and women alike, who will say “it’s only words” or “it’s not like he raped them.” It’s not only words. And for those who think that rape is simply unwanted sex won’t understand that rape and sexual harassment are two manifestations of the same predatory behavior. It’s frightening because women instinctively recognize it for what it is–an intentional victimization, that is often only limited by the amount of opportunity and secrecy available to the predator.

  3. Submitted by David Frenkel on 08/14/2015 - 10:30 am.

    doing his job

    I don’t understand why Teague was kept on after what appeared to be a poor performance. He ignored women’s athletics, seldom went to a football practice, Kill was visibly irritated by him and in the end it turns out Kill raised more money than Teague. Teague was brought in because he was some great fundraiser that didn’t happen. Why did Kaler keep him when he was obviously not running the athletic department and was not an active AD. Did nobody care about all the alcohol being consumed and expensed to the U athletic department? The UofM needs an AD that takes interest in all sports and makes a positive presence. The AD also needs to show zero tolerance for rules violations including inappropriate behavior like sexual harassment.
    Unfortunately the U has had a long history of sexual harassment related issues for decades and is something that shouldn’t be tolerated. In my opinion Kaler should resign once all the inquiries are completed and the facts are in the open. Kaler missed the warning signs of excessive drinking and poor job performance.

    • Submitted by Joe Smithers on 08/14/2015 - 01:40 pm.

      his job

      By most accounts I have heard and read it was well known that his focus was primarily football and mens basketball since they bring the most money in. The athletics dept. wasn’t doing well financially prior to him being at the U and since has been doing better from what I have heard. Also, it is also fairly common for an AD to rub a coach the wrong way from time to time so I’m not concerned Kill was irritated with him. I’ve also heard and read that his fundraising was vastly superior to the previous AD so I’m not sure why you think he was bad at his job or not doing it. He’s been given credit for the majority of the funds for the athletics facilities that are planned to be built according to what I have read. I haven’t heard at all that Kill was raising the majority of funds for the U. Do you have some kind of proof or source that he wasn’t raising money, had poor job performance or something?

  4. Submitted by Ann Lyons on 08/14/2015 - 10:53 am.

    Consultant

    I watched the comments by the Press. of the U with shock. He said this man would be kept on as a consultant at an exorbitant rate of pay. Is that still true? We need to know this – our tax dollars at work.

  5. Submitted by Denis Hill on 08/14/2015 - 11:50 am.

    StarTribune Accountability

    Management at the Star Tribune need to explain why they didn’t file a complaint with the University Administration when one of their employees was sexually harrassed by a high level University administrator. There should have been a way to do that while protecting the privacy of their employee at the same time

  6. Submitted by Dan Kaufman on 08/14/2015 - 12:35 pm.

    They hired Teague to try to get

    Shaka Smart as basketball coach. Smart did a great job as coach at VCU where Teague was AD before Minnesota. The great minds seemed to think Teague could get Smart to move here. However, it seems likely that Smart was too smart for this, he probably wanted nothing to do with Teague.

    I hope they keep Beth Goetz on as permanent AD. This would send a great signal about the new direction of Gopher Athletics.

  7. Submitted by Pat Fleetham on 08/14/2015 - 01:02 pm.

    Predator or Terrorist

    Which is more apt Sexual Predator or Sexual Terrorist?

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