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Woman Accuses UC Berkeley Football Players, Coaches Of Sexual Harassment

The university said it has referred the allegations to the campus Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination.

A student at the University of California at Berkeley has accused the school’s football players, coaches and staff of sexual harassment.

In a detailed account published Wednesday on her public Facebook page, Paige Cornelius said she experienced “persistent” harassment from members of the team and coaching staff while she was working as a sports medicine intern last season.

The allegations have been referred to the campus Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination, UC Berkeley said in a statement to HuffPost on Thursday. 

“We are aware of the very disturbing public allegations made on social media,” the school said. “These allegations go against the very core of our values.”

The alleged harassment, Cornelius said, included provocative direct messages on social media and lewd comments made in person, including one staff member allegedly telling her: “I will get you fired if you do not have sex with me.”

Cornelius also alleged being cornered, kissed without her consent, and followed home. 

“I’m in college this is normal, or what has been normalized, and I expected to get this from the players,” Cornelius wrote. “What I did not expect was the ruthless, endless, and persistent sex harassment from the coaches.”

Cornelius said she has taken medical leave from the school to seek “intensive therapy and psychiatry for the post traumatic stress syndrome and anxiety that happened from the time I spent working for the Cal Football team.”

UC Berkeley did not comment on specific allegations in Cornelius’ post, nor individuals she mentioned by name. The university also did not acknowledge when it first learned about Cornelius’ allegations, which she claimed she made known to members of the Cal Athletics staff last fall.

“While we can discuss our process for handling these matters, we generally cannot address any specific case,” the university said. “Allegations of sexual violence and sexual harassment by campus employees are confidential unless officials determine policy is violated, and disciplinary action has been decided. Such allegations against students remain private regardless of the outcome, under UC policy and federal law regarding student records.”

Cornelius said in an interview with ESPN that the man who threatened to get her fired if she did not have sex with him was a volunteer assistant. An unidentified source told the outlet that the man is no longer with the program, though it wasn’t clear when he left the school or what led to his departure.

Cornelius did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.

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