Paige Cornelius Accuses Cal Players, Coaches and Staff of Sexual Harassment

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMarch 21, 2019

BERKELEY, CA - DECEMBER 1:  A general view of the field and the Cal logo in Memorial Stadium on the day of the 121st Big Game played between the California Golden Bears and the Stanford Cardinal football teams on December 1, 2018 at the University of California in Berkeley, California.  (Photo by David Madison/Getty Images)
David Madison/Getty Images

The University of California released a statement Wednesday after former student Paige Cornelius, who worked as a sports medicine intern in the athletic department, announced she had "medically withdrawn" from the school to seek treatment following alleged sexual harassment by players, coaches and staff members of the Golden Bears' football team.

Cornelius told Kyle Bonagura of ESPN.com that she decided to go public with her story after attempts to reach athletic director Jim Knowlton, football coach Justin Wilcox and other staff members went unanswered.

"We are aware of the very disturbing public allegations made on social media," the university's statement read. "Allegations of sexual violence and sexual harassment by campus employees are confidential unless officials determine policy is violated, and disciplinary action has been decided."

Cornelius said the harassment included one member of the coaching staff threatening to get her fired if she didn't have sex with him—ESPN reported he was since removed from the staff, though it's unclear if it's related to the case—and another staffer followed her home and asked if she'd go to the pool with him, saying she would "look amazing in a bikini."

"This coach is still employed by Cal Football, just to make that clear," she wrote on Facebook, per Bonagura.

Cornelius added she's "seeking 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."

In May, longtime Cal assistant director of student services Mohamed Muqtar was fired after sexual assault and harassment allegations were brought forward by seven women.

The school released a statement saying, "The findings described in the report are appalling, wholly unacceptable and have no place in our department, on campus or anywhere."

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