Nevada defends hire of Cal assistant accused of harassment

RENO, Nev. (AP) Nevada President Marc Johnson released a series of text messages and other documents Friday that he says demonstrate why the university was comfortable hiring an assistant basketball coach who was accused of sexual harassment before he resigned from California.

The 21 documents released in response to a public records request from the Reno-Gazette Journal (http://tinyurl.com/zpv86zj) include hundreds of texts between Yann Hufnagel and a 24-year-old reporter who accused him of harassing her while he was at Cal.

Nevada coach Eric Musselman announced Hufnagel's hiring on April 8, the day after Hufnagel announced he was dropping his appeal of Cal's attempt to fire him and was resigning from the Pac-12 school. A review of his appeal had been scheduled to be released on April 8.

Cal gave Hufnagel, 33, a termination notice in March. The university started investigating him last year after the journalist covering the team sent Cal coach Cuonzo Martin a long email describing in graphic detail unwelcome advances from Hufnagel.

Johnson said Friday that additional evidence not used in the Cal investigation made Nevada confident in the hire. It included letters to Cal administrators from Hufnagel's lawyers that were to be used in the appeal review. The documents vehemently deny the charges and findings by Cal's Office of Prevention and Discrimination.

Hufnagel's lawyers said in the documents provided to Nevada that Cal investigators used only selective texts provided by the reporter instead of the full transcript of the relationship that included the reporter on several occasions asking to meet with Hufnagel.

Hufnagel's lawyer, Mary McNamara, said earlier it was a ''flirtation that never went anywhere'' and that he ''never touched her.''

''The full record makes it clear beyond doubt that Mr. Hufnagel did not sexually harass the reporter,'' McNamara said in an email to The Associated Press on Friday. ''This is a terrible miscarriage of justice.''

According to the documents provided to Nevada, when the reporter texted Hufnagel to wish him good luck during a game against Stanford, he texted back two emoticon hearts and she responded she was ''holding her breath'' and ''waiting for her invite.'' She again asked where her invite was and Hufnagel responded he was traveling to the East Coast, the Gazette-Journal first reported on its Website Friday.

She also on one occasion asked him if was on the dating website Tinder.

Hufnagel's attorneys denied allegations that he was trying to trick the reporter into going to his apartment for sex, as found in the Cal investigation. Hufnagel's lawyers said that was most likely the phrasing investigators used in their report.

''She specifically asked Mr. Hufnagel if he wanted her to come up so they could have a sexual encounter; he said yes; she decided she did not want to do so and left,'' Hufnagel's attorneys wrote.

Cal spokesman Dan Mogulof said Friday the school had no further comment. He said earlier this month while Hufnagel's appeal was pending that investigators had asked Hufnagel to provide any information he believed would corroborate his account, and that he produced about a dozen text messages and two additional emails and attachments.

''There was nothing preventing him from submitting anything that he thought would support his position, and it remains unclear why he apparently withheld hundreds of text messages he now believes to be relevant,'' Mogulof said in an April 4 email to AP.

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Information from: Reno Gazette-Journal, http://www.rgj.com

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