Arizona State University officials say that a legal claim against an athletic booster who allegedly harassed three women married to members of the athletic department “could have been resolved in a quicker timeframe.”
In a statement released to Yahoo Sports Wednesday, ASU said that an outside investigation found that booster Bart Wear subjected the three women to “unwelcome comments and physical contact.” The booster’s season tickets have since been canceled and he is no longer welcome at university events.
Detailed in an 11-page legal claim filed in Arizona this week, multiple Arizona State officials allegedly waited nearly five months to investigate claims of “assault and sexual harassment” of three women married to athletic department staff members. The wife of ASU head basketball coach Bobby Hurley, Leslie, was one of the three women who said the booster “acted inappropriately” toward her.
Former ASU senior associate athletic director David Cohen, who was removed from his position in August before he was formally terminated in December, filed the notice of claim to multiple state agencies.
In the notice, a precursor to filing a lawsuit, Cohen says that he lost his job because he pushed for athletic director Ray Anderson and other ASU officials to investigate the allegations brought forward by the three women, which included his wife.
Cohen is now seeking $1.5 million to settle the claim for lost wages, pain and suffering and emotional harm.
The notice of claim details an encounter between Cohen’s wife, Kathy, and Wear at a Pac-12 basketball game in March. Kathy left her seat at T-Mobile Arena to use the restroom at halftime and while attempting to pass Wear in the aisle, according to the notice of claim, he “put his hands on her waist, moved his hands up the side of her body to the side of her breast, held his hands on the sides of her breasts and said, ‘Dave is lucky to have you.’”
In the school’s statement, they say the independent investigation into Wear, a former ASU football player, “did not conclude that the donor had grabbed anyone or sexually assaulted anyone.” However, Wear received a letter from a school official on Dec. 10 revoking his tickets and acknowledging the evidence they had that corroborated Kathy Cohen’s story.
When Yahoo Sports inquired about the two statements, ASU claims David Cohen “changed his story in August of 2019 about the nature of the allegations and said that Mr. Wear had grabbed a victim’s breast.” The school said their investigation “found that untrue.”
Michael Perez, Cohen’s lawyer, called it a “semantics game” and said it was “an absolute fabrication” that Cohen changed his story.
“It doesn’t matter if Wear grabbed, groped, touched or felt,” Perez told Yahoo Sports. “You had a dominant male who presses himself on a female victim, and ASU is trying to defend the actions as if they’re somehow appropriate.”
Leslie Hurley, through her lawyer Barry Mitchell, admitted that she is one of the individuals mentioned in the notice of claim. In the notice of claim, Leslie detailed how she told the two other women how Wear would “frequently approach her during ASU games” and “inappropriately put his hand on her leg while talking with her.”
It got to the point where, according to the claim, Leslie would “ask other people sitting with her to stand in front of her when Mr. Wear approached so as to prevent him from touching her.”
The notice of claim alleges that multiple athletic department officials and a board of regents members knew of the allegations. Included among those athletic officials was Anderson, who went on a golf trip with Wear “using Mr. Wear’s private plane service” roughly six weeks after learning of the allegations.
Multiple attempts from Yahoo Sports to reach Wear for comment were unsuccessful.