USC Berkeley Coach Allegedly Sexually Harassed Female Sports Reporter
USC launched an investigation after a reporter accused Hufnagel of sexual harassment.
An investigation into the assistant coach at the University of California Berkley’s mens basketball team has found that the coach allegedly harassed a reporter for sex, PEOPLE confirms.
According to the report of the investigation obtained by PEOPLE, Hufnagel allegedly harassed the reporter mainly via text messages bi-weekly between November 2014 and May 2015.
The female reporter told investigators that Hufnagel tried to push her to have sex with him for team access, the report states. Portions of the report have been redacted to protect the identity of the complainant, witnesses, and students.
The incidents were reported to the school’s Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination, which carried out the investigation, after the complainant reached out to the Head Varsity Athletics Coach in July.
Investigators discovered a series of text messages exchanged between the reporter and Hufnagel where Hufnagel suggests having a threesome, the report states.
The reporter told investigators that two weeks after she met Hufnagel in late 2014 he began to send her suggestive texts.
“Complainant received sexually harassing communications from Respondent on a bi-weekly basis in response to Complainant’s attempts to communicate with Respondent for professional purposes,” the report states.
The reporter said often times she reached out to Hufnagel to get information for a story because he was her only source for the men’s basketball team.
In February, the reporter reached out to Hufnagel to see if he could meet to discuss the team over coffee. According to the report, Hufnagel insisted they go to a bar instead. After a few drinks, Hufnagel allegedly asked the reporter to drive him home because he had been drinking. She suggested he take a taxi, however, Hufnagel again allegedly insisted.
When they got to his apartment, Hufnagel told the reporter to drive into his building’s parking garage. He then allegedly used a remote control to close the garage door behind them. The reporter asked Hufnagel to let her out the garage but he refused and told her he wanted her to come upstairs to his apartment.
“[Complainant] recalled telling Respondent that she was [going to go home;] to which Respondent responded, ‘You’re coming up,'” the report states.
“Are you thinking that I’m going to have sex with you?” the reporter said she asked Hufnagel in the report. “Yes” he allegedly said.
• Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.
The reporter told investigators that she remembers Hufnagel allegedly talking about giving him oral sex if she came upstairs with him. The ordeal lasted for about 15 minutes, according to the reporter’s story.
The following month, the report states, the reporter asked Hufnagel to get coffee again. This time, Hufnagel allegedly made innuendos suggesting a threesome. After she declined his alleged invitation, the reporter says Hufnagel gave her false information for a story. Although she told investigators that she her editors supported her throughout the ordeal, the reporter quit her job.
Upon question, Hufnagel told investigators that he did ask the reporter out the night they went to the bar and that there was “1000% acceptance on her part.”
Hufnagel said they met a friend at the bar and that he did not have a drink at the bar because he was drinking. He recalled how he thought the reporter was “the lamest girl ever” because she was drinking tea.
According to the report, Hufnagel said that the only time he spent any time with the reporter was that night at the bar. He said he didn’t see her again afterwards because he “realized she was ‘a total ditz’ and ‘not a good fit.'”
Hufnagel told investigators that he drove himself and the reporter home that night and that he brought the car into the garage as way to trick the reporter to go upstairs.
“With all candor, I was trying to trick her into going upstairs,” he said in the report. When asked whether he had sexual intentions at that point, Hufnagel replied, “yes.”
The 23-page report was released on March 14. UC Berkeley sent Hufnagel a notice of termination following the release of the findings, a spokesperson for the university said.
On Monday, Hufnagel tweeted a response to the investigation’s findings: “Right now, the only focus should be on our basketball team! My time to exonerate myself of a fruitless claim by a reporter will come.”
The following day he tweeted: “The sun is coming up! My heart is broken in a billion pieces, but I am not sick. Pray for those that do not have their health.”