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Report: University of Wisconsin athletic official grabbed student's crotch

A University of Wisconsin student said an athletic department official grabbed his crotch at an alcohol-fueled party, according to a report released by the school on Tuesday night.
/ Source: staff and news service reports

A University of Wisconsin student alleged that an athletic department official grabbed his crotch at an alcohol-fueled party during the football team's trip to the Rose Bowl, according to an independent report released by the school on its website on Tuesday night.

The report said the student alleged former senior associate athletic director John Chadima put his hand down the student's pants at the end of a party in Chadima's suite at a Los Angeles hotel on Dec. 31.

The student — identified only as John Doe in the report — said he was "shocked and frightened" and slapped Chadima's hand away.

Chadima was put on administrative leave on Jan. 6 and resigned the same day. He previously had issued an apology for a "lapse in judgment," and issued another statement through his attorney Tuesday.

"I make no excuses and have come to the realization that over the past few months, alcohol had controlled and consumed my life," Chadima said. "I am taking steps to correct that problem in my life at this time. I will take full responsibility for my lack of judgment and actions that evening."

The Wisconsin State Journal reported the statement added that Chadima was "deeply saddened" by the report.

"It is certainly not reflective of the type of person I am, my lifestyle, my management style or my faith or beliefs," he wrote according to the newspaper.

The school's independent report said its findings were based on interviews with 23 people including students and professional staff — but they were "not able to arrange an interview" with Badgers football coach Bret Bielema.

Three student employees of the athletic department declined to be interviewed.

The report also reviewed information from Chadima's office computer and school-issued cellphone.

Chadima declined to speak with the panel.

'Just joking around'
The report said Chadima hosted a bowl game party for staff and student employees for at least the past four years. The most recent party began Dec. 30 and lasted into the early morning hours of Dec. 31, at Chadima's hotel suite. According to the report, Chadima provided "alcohol, beer and mixers" and guests were invited to serve themselves. Some of the guests were under age 21.

Sometime between 1:30 a.m. and 2 a.m., the alleged victim was leaving along with the last few people left at the party when he said Chadima asked him to "stay here and have a drink with me." The alleged victim said he and Chadima both had several more drinks and "probably were intoxicated," but were coherent and in control of their physical movements.

According to the report, Chadima then said he thought the student was gay, and said some of the other student employees thought he was gay. The student said it made him "uncomfortable and defensive."

The student then said Chadima reached over and removed the student's belt, putting his hands inside the student's pants and touching his genitals. The student said he slapped Chadima's hand away and swore at him.

At that point, the student said Chadima said he thought the student liked it, asking "What are you going to do about it?"

The student said he quickly left the room, and Chadima seemed to want to gloss over the incident as "just joking around."

The report said the student then went to the hotel room of his immediate supervisor, whose name is redacted in the report, and related the incident. The student said at the time he didn't want to do anything that would jeopardize the team's Rose Bowl preparations.

Athletic staffer asks for 'forgiveness'
The student then told a consistent version of the story to three fellow student employees. The report said the student was "pleased and satisfied" with the supportive response he received from the supervisor and fellow students.

The student traveled on the team charter flight back to Madison on Jan. 3.

According to the report, the two unidentified officials called UW police lieutenant Jason Whitney on the morning of Jan. 4; Whitney had traveled with the team to the Rose Bowl.

In a meeting that afternoon, Whitney presented a Dec. 13, 2011, memo from UW-Madison police department chief Susan Riseling which emphasized that any employee witnessing or receiving a report about a sexual assault is required to report it to the Dean of Students office. According to the report, Whitney emphasized the importance of acting promptly.

But the report said the unidentified officials felt "uneasy" about reporting the incident without alerting officials in the athletic department. They described the incident to Holly Weber, the athletic department's human relations director.

Weber said she would discuss it with senior university legal counsel John Dowling, and asked them to wait until she got back to them to contact the dean. That meeting happened Jan. 6, where the unnamed officials who called Whitney were told to stop the athletic department's investigation of the incident and that the chancellor's office would decide how to proceed.

According to the report, the chancellor and Athletic Director Barry Alvarez determined Chadima would be placed on administrative leave. The chancellor decided to appoint a committee to conduct the investigation.

Chadima did not specifically address any of the report's allegations in his statement.

"I have learned a very hard lesson through this process, am paying a difficult price for my actions, and I hope that a lesson can somehow be learned by all from this situation," he said. "I also hope that my apologies will be accepted, and forgiveness given."