Arizona State has acknowledged its slow response to sexual harassment allegations against an athletic booster who was eventually barred by the school in December, telling Yahoo Sports that the case “could have been resolved in a quicker time frame.”
In a legal filing obtained by Yahoo, booster Bart Wear is alleged to have inappropriately touched the wife of former Arizona State senior associate athletic director David Cohen in March 2019. Two other women, including Leslie Hurley, the wife of Arizona State men’s basketball coach Bobby Hurley, also have said that Wear acted inappropriately around them.
In its statement to Yahoo, Arizona State said it had canceled Wear’s season tickets and told him he is not welcome at school events after determining he made “unwelcome comments and physical contact” to the three women.
“Related to the donor issue, the university acknowledges that the matter could have been resolved in a quicker time frame and has taken steps to remind those involved that we have investigative resources to deal with these types of issues as soon as they arise,” the school said in its statement.
The accusations came to light from a notice of claim filed by Cohen this week in which he seeks $1.5 million to settle what he deems a wrongful termination after he pushed athletic director Ray Anderson and other school officials to investigate Wear. Cohen was removed from his job in August and was formally fired in December. The notice, a copy of which was obtained by Yahoo, could be a precursor to a lawsuit being filed.
The claim said Anderson continued to associate with Wear after being informed of the allegations and that Wear joined donors in traveling to Michigan State for a September football game.
Anderson declined to speak with Yahoo and referred a reporter to Arizona State media relations officials. Arizona State said in its statement that Cohen originally downplayed the severity of what happened to his wife.
“Even though this has been a very challenging and difficult time for my family, I am confident I did the right thing,” Cohen said in a statement. “I spoke out because I have a moral responsibility to protect three women that the University failed to protect. These women are the victims, and they deserve to be heard.”
Arizona State said in its statement to Yahoo that an investigation found no retaliation was made against Cohen by the school.
Wear did not respond to requests for comment from Yahoo.