Campus to investigate potential failure to follow UC policy regarding reporting in sex harassment case

Yann Hufnagel, right, stands with Cal head basketball coach Cuonzo Martin
Ethan Epstein/File
Yann Hufnagel, right, stands with Cal head basketball coach Cuonzo Martin

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The campus confirmed Wednesday that it will conduct an investigation into whether any “mandated reporters,” including Cal men’s basketball head coach Cuonzo Martin, failed to adhere to UC policy in regards to reporting sexual harassment allegations against assistant coach Yann Hufnagel.

The announcement comes after Hufnagel was relieved of his duties with the basketball team Monday as a result of findings from the Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination, or OPHD, that he had violated UC sexual harassment policy.

The OPHD report details a female reporter’s allegations that Hufnagel sexually harassed her on multiple occasions via text message and in person. Hufnagel admitted to investigators that he engaged in some conduct alleged by the complainant, including that with “all candor, I was trying to trick her into going upstairs” to his apartment, intending to have sex with her.

“These last two days have been gut-wrenching,” Hufnagel said in a statement he tweeted Wednesday. “I take these allegations incredibly seriously, but the report is wrong.”

Martin initiated the OPHD investigation in July, according to a statement from campus spokesperson Dan Mogulof.

Recent emails obtained by the San Francisco Chronicle, however, suggest that Martin knew of the reporter’s allegations about two months before Cal Athletics informed the OPHD. According to the Chronicle, Martin was known as “Witness 1” in the OPHD’s report.

“The university is reviewing whether anyone had reason to believe that Hufnagel was in violation of the campus’s sexual harassment policy prior to July 5,” said a campus statement. “Coach Martin is included among this group of people, but is not a target of an investigation.”

The report indicates that the complainant had contacted a “Head Varsity Athletic Coach” in May 2015 to say she had been sexually harassed by Hufnagel. She told investigators that she didn’t have the opportunity to detail the harassment at the time, but characterized her “attempts to follow up with Witness 1 regarding her initial report as unsuccessful.”

According to the report, Witness 1 “denied that (the complainant) provided any details or described anything as constituting sexual harassment.”

“The initial focus of the Title IX investigation was on the complainant’s allegations of sexual harassment itself,” the campus’s statement read. “Once the investigation substantiated that claim, a review process, which is underway, was begun to determine whether all mandated reporters acted within policy. This is a routine procedure, and is consistent with best practices.”

Martin is currently working under an offer sheet rather than a signed contract with Cal Athletics. According to the campus’s statement, Martin and his agent are still negotiating his contract.

Martin held a press conference Thursday, with an NCAA Tournament game looming Friday. He told reporters at the conference that he would not answer any questions regarding the OPHD investigation into his role in Hufnagel’s case.

“That’s a university issue,” Martin said at the conference. “The most important thing for me is our basketball team playing in the NCAA Tournament, and we’ll deal with that at the appropriate time.”

Hooman Yazdanian is the assistant sports editor. Contact him at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @hoomanyazdanian.