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Report: Civil Lawsuit Filed Against Arizona State, Athletics Director

Former senior associate athletics director Steven Cohen's lawsuit revives sexual harassment allegations ASU experienced over the previous two years.

On Monday, Yahoo! Sports' Pete Thamel first reported a former athletics official for Arizona State University filed a civil lawsuit against the university, athletics director Ray Anderson and the Arizona Board of Regents. 

Former senior associate athletics director Steven Cohen is filing the lawsuit under the belief that his dismissal in 2019 was “clear retaliation” against insistence that ASU investigate the allegations made by three women against ASU booster Bart Wear.

For those unfamiliar, Wear's sexual harassment allegations took months to be addressed by Arizona State after allegedly first being reported in March, 2019. The allegations include three cases when Wear made inappropriate contact against three separate women, all married to athletics department employees. Arizona State reportedly took five months to begin investigating those claims. 

The Yahoo! report mentions this is Cohen's second filing after an initial notice of claim where he reportedly asked for $1.5 million. Cohen's newest lawsuit says he is filing for “past and future wages and benefits, pre and post-judgement interest, compensatory damages, and mental health anguish and emotional distress.”

Arizona State spokesperson Katie Paquet said in a statement: "In the summer of 2019, the university hired an outside law firm to conduct a full and independent investigation of Mr. Cohen’s claims of retaliation and wrongful termination. The investigation found those claims to be untrue. The claims alleged in the complaint lack a legal and factual basis."

The lawsuit also alleges Anderson failed to respond appropriately to the initial allegations. In 2020, Arizona State University did admit the situation could have been resolved in a quicker time frame. The Yahoo! story also mentions the booster, even after an independent study concluded the claims of sexual harassment were legitimate, was given courtside seats to an ASU basketball game among other various favors throughout the process.

The recent lawsuit comes at a time where Arizona State's athletics department is already under heavy scrutiny amid recruiting allegations that are being investigated by the NCAA. 

Donnie Druin is a Deputy Editor with AllSunDevils. Follow Donnie on Twitter @DonnieDruin, and AllSunDevils @AllSunDevils.