Cleve Bryant case settlement: $400K

Updated: October 20, 2011, 7:39 PM ET
By Mark Fainaru-Wada | ESPN.com

The University of Texas paid an athletics department administrative assistant $400,000 to settle a sexual harassment complaint she filed against Mack Brown's longtime associate athletics director for football operations, documents obtained by "Outside the Lines" show.

"Outside the Lines" reported in mid-September that Cleve Bryant, who oversaw numerous daily activities for the Longhorns, including game-day operations, team travel and recruiting weekends, was fired last March after a university investigator determined "that Mr. Bryant did sexually harass" the staffer and that "the harassment was likely both verbal and physical."

The Jan. 10 settlement, obtained through a public records request, releases the University of Texas from any future claims by the administrative assistant. The university redacted her name from the document, but ESPN previously identified her as Rachel Arena. As part of the agreement, athletics director Deloss Dodds was to provide Arena a "favorable letter of recommendation" with respect to her employment and state that she "did an excellent job while employed at UT Austin."

"I am very proud of my client and the courage that she demonstrated to stand up for her rights in this case," said Arena's attorney, Gloria Allred. "Her willingness to do the right thing has benefited other women and the University as well."

University of Texas officials declined comment.

Bryant, in documents from a university investigation of Arena's complaint, has denied all allegations against him. His attorney, Tom Nesbitt, declined comment Thursday.

Arena was hired by Texas after being a member of the Texas Angels and Gabriels, student body members who acted as hostesses (Angels) and hosts (Gabriels) when high school recruits visited campus. Her day-to-day work in the athletics office after graduation was supervised by Bryant. He told investigators he believed that she complained about him after she was told she would not be receiving a significant raise she had requested.

Arena told investigators her problem with Bryant began shortly after she was hired in 2008. She said comments from Bryant started with texts, which soon went from benign to sexually charged.

In its mid-September story, "Outside the Lines" reported that documents show that Arena told investigators:

• That during a July 2010 meeting in Bryant's office about whether she would receive a raise, Bryant pulled down the top of her dress and bra and fondled her breast.

• That Bryant repeatedly either told her in person or texted her that "I want to kiss you."

• That Bryant retaliated after she told him to stop texting by creating a false allegation that she had acted inappropriately at a minor league baseball game she attended with some former Texas football players.

• That one day while in the break room, getting a bottle of water, Bryant came in, stood in front of the door as she started to leave and said, "Kiss me." Arena said she turned away and Bryant kissed her on the neck before she could leave.

• That two other female office workers alleged that Bryant had inappropriately kissed them in the past.

• That another woman in the athletic department referred to Bryant as "old-freak-nasty" and that he once told Arena "he wanted to touch me, that he wanted to pleasure me, that he could, that he could make me happy, referring to sexually, things like that."

Mark Fainaru-Wada is a reporter for ESPN's Enterprise/Investigations unit. He can be reached at markfwespn@gmail.com.

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