Arizona State head coach Bobby Hurley accused athletic director Ray Anderson of downplaying sexual harassment allegations against a prominent booster, according to a December email from Hurley's official school account to Anderson that was obtained by Yahoo Sports' Pete Thamel.
The booster, Bart Wear, allegedly harassed three women married to Arizona State staff, including Hurley's wife. Former Arizona State senior associate athletic director David Cohen says he reported the incidents to Anderson in March 2019 and has filed a notice of claim against the school stating that he was fired in retaliation later that year.
Hurley's email said Anderson assessed the allegations on a numeric scale. The coach asked how the athletic director would have responded if his own wife and daughter were involved.
"It is your choice if you continue to minimize (redacted) suffering throughout this ordeal. You have disregarded the safety and shown no sensitivity towards the women that have experienced sexual assault," Hurley wrote in the email dated Dec. 8. "You have chosen to create your own numeric scale on what sexual assault mean(s) which is disturbing.
"Maybe in your words the sexual assault committed by (redacted) was a 2 or a 3, but if this had happened to Buffie or Kimmy, would it still be a level 2 or a 3?"
Anderson responded to Hurley four hours later.
"Clearly, you have made judgments and conclusions, not to mention false and baseless allegations," Anderson wrote. "Your approach here is puzzling. This matter should now be firmly put in the hands of the lawyers."
Thamel obtained the emails through a Freedom of Information Act request.
An outside investigation launched by Arizona State into Wear's behavior determined he had made "unwelcome comments and physical contact" with three women, ASU said in response to Cohen's statement of claim. The school said the investigation "did not conclude that the donor had grabbed anyone or sexually assaulted anyone."
In Hurley's email in December, the Sun Devils head coach suggests Anderson informed him during a practice that week that Wear "would no longer be around men's basketball."
However, Hurley added he felt he had "been lied to" after Wear had recently sat in a "highly visible" location during a game. Arizona State hosted Louisiana-Lafayette on Dec. 7, the day before Hurley sent the email.
On Dec. 10, Arizona State canceled Wear's season tickets, according to documents the school shared with Thamel. That letter also said the school's investigation supported Cohen's wife's allegation that Wear had "run his hands up her sides, brushing the outside of her breasts while commenting she was ‘too good’ for her husband." The university warned Wear that security could remove him if he attends other ASU events.
Wear has since denied the allegations in a $5-million claim that called the school's independent investigation a "character assassination."