UGA settles harassment lawsuit involving former athletes

UGA settles harassment lawsuit involving former athletes

The Associated Press

The University of Georgia has reached an out-of-court settlement with a former student who filed a $25 million sexual harassment lawsuit after claiming school officials were slow to respond to an alleged assault involving three athletes. Tiffany Williams contended the school failed to take action against former Georgia basketball players Tony Cole and Steve Thomas and ex-football player Brandon Williams after an alleged sexual assault.

She also claimed that UGA President Michael Adams and former Athletic Director Vince Dooley exposed her to danger by recruiting Cole even though they knew he had a history of sexual misconduct.

Ed Tolley, an attorney representing the athletic association, told The Athens Banner-Herald the settlement was six figures but would not specify the precise figure.

Williams told police she and Cole had consensual sex in his dorm room on Jan. 14, 2002. Afterward, a man later identified as Brandon Williams emerged from Cole’s closet and sexually assaulted her, she told police. The woman alleged that Thomas then entered the room and sexually assaulted her.

Brandon Williams was acquitted and criminal charges against Cole and Thomas were dismissed by Athens-Clarke County authorities.

A federal appeals court had ruled that the woman’s case suggested that school officials considered Cole’s “basketball skills a greater benefit than his questionable mores were a burden.”