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Report: Minnesota athletics official broke harassment policy

MINNEAPOLIS — The University of Minnesota’s Board of Regents has launched an investigation into a leak of confidential information regarding the latest in a long line of sexual harassment allegations to be leveled against the school’s athletic department.

Regent Chairman Dean Johnson said a closed-door meeting was held on Thursday, one day after a television station reported that an official in the athletic department had violated the school’s sexual harassment policy.

The university provided little detail about the allegation itself, only saying it takes accusations against employees seriously and that it could not provide details because it is a private personnel matter. But the matter does mean the university is looking into another allegation of sexual harassment or assault after dealing with several cases in the last two years.

“Anytime you have allegations such as this within the university it’s not helpful,” Johnson said. “It will be dealt with in a judicious, fair way according to the procedures and policies of this university.”

Johnson also expressed concern about the leak to KSTP-TV, which reported on the allegations Wednesday night.

The board is calling on its 12 members and university employees with access to the confidential memo to sign affidavits stating they didn’t share the information. Outside experts will be hired to look at electronic communications of those with access to the memo. Johnson said five to six others outside of the board of regents had access to the information.

“We must establish credibility with the university, with faculty, with students, with the administration, with the legislature, the governor and the people of this state,” Johnson said. “We cannot do business if we violate the confidential, privileged communication as happened last evening.”

The university said it would have no further comment on the accusations.