Woman who accused former Michigan State football coach of sexual harassment files intent to sue him and the school

Woman who accused former Michigan State football coach of sexual harassment files intent to sue him and the school - Crime and Courts - News

Title: Michigan State University’s Former Head Football Coach Mel Tucker Faces Lawsuit for Alleged Sexual Harassment and Breach of Confidentiality

A woman, Brenda Tracy, who accused Michigan State University’s (MSU) former head football coach Mel Tucker of sexual harassment, is planning to file a lawsuit against him, MSU, its board of trustees, and a dozen other unnamed individuals for $75 million in damages. The notice of intent to sue was filed in a Michigan court on Wednesday, March 29, 2023.

Tracy’s attorney, Karen Truszkowski, declined to comment when contacted by media outlets regarding the impending litigation. CNN and other news sources have requested comments from Tucker’s attorney and MSU, but no response has been received as of now.

The allegations against Tucker stem from a phone call in April 2022 during which he made sexual comments and masturbated, according to a complaint that Tracy filed with MSU’s Title IX office in December 2022. USA Today reported the story last September, revealing that MSU had been investigating Tucker for sexual misconduct since that time.

Tracy asserts in her court filing that after she reported the incident to MSU, the university conducted an investigation and promised confidentiality. However, she claims that “a yet-to-be identified MSU affiliated party” leaked her identity to the press, resulting in threats to her and her family. According to the court papers, these threats persist to the present day.

Following the public revelation of Tucker’s investigation, MSU terminated his employment on September 27, 2022. In a statement to CNN last September, Tucker contended that the call was consensual between two adults and described it as a private event.

Tracy intends to file two separate lawsuits against Tucker, MSU, and the other parties involved – one under her own name for $50 million and another through her non-profit organization “Set The Expectation” for an additional $25 million. She has the potential to bring more than 20 claims against them, including intentional infliction of emotional distress and breach of duty of confidentiality.

Brenda Tracy founded “Set The Expectation” to promote awareness about sexual violence and speak to athletes on the subject. She is a rape survivor herself, having been assaulted by four college football players in 1998. Her advocacy work led her to become an honorary captain for MSU’s spring football keyboards in 2022, and a photo of Tucker and Tracy together was shared on the team’s Instagram page.

In his statement last September, Tucker acknowledged that he had invited Tracy to campus for a presentation in 2021 due to her mission related to sexual misconduct prevention. He claimed that their friendship evolved into an intimate relationship, which included the April 2022 phone call in question.

Mel Tucker, who previously worked in both college and professional football, took over as MSU’s head coach in 2020. In his second season, the team achieved an impressive 11-2 record, and he signed a 10-year, $95 million contract that placed him among the highest-paid coaches in college football. However, after a disappointing 2022 season with a record of 5-7 and just two games coached in 2023 before being suspended and terminated, Tucker’s tenure at MSU came to an abrupt end.