An academic coach fired by the University of Notre Dame after a student accused her of coercing him into having unwelcome sexual encounters with her daughter issued a statement Thursday describing what happened as merely a breakup and saying her family is heartbroken he chose to harm them in such a public manner.
"There are two sides to every breakup and that this is being played out in the media is incredibly painful to us," said a statement released by family spokeswoman Caitlin Rourk. "While we may not be a perfect family, we are a close-knit one and welcomed this young man into our lives at a time when he, himself said, he couldn't rely on anyone else."
The University of Notre Dame disclosed Thursday that the student made a multimillion-dollar demand from the school after complaining about the academic coach, who was named in a lawsuit filed by the student last week. The lawsuit alleges racial discrimination and sexual harassment, saying the academic coach, who is white, orchestrated a sexually motivated "inappropriate and demeaning relationship" with the student, who is black. The suit alleges that included providing condoms and paying for hotel rooms and asking him about the nature, frequency and quality of sexual activities he had with her daughter. The names of those involved have not been released.
Also Thursday, lawyers for the student released a six-page report by an outside investigator hired by the university into the relationship. The report does not specify how the academic coach, who didn't work with the student, allegedly coerced him. Mike Misch, an attorney for the student, said those details will come out at trial.
When asked about the report, Rourk said the family had no further comment.
The report states the academic coach at one point asked the student about the last time he and her daughter, a student at a nearby school who also works at Notre Dame, had sex. When he responded it had been three or four days, he told the investigator the mother told them to "go upstairs immediately and have sex."
The student also said the daughter once said to him: "You know if you break up with me, I am going to kill you, right?" according to the report.
He also told the investigator he was afraid of breaking up with the daughter because he had moved all his belongings into a storage unit of the mother and daughter and was afraid they wouldn't give them his things back, the report said.
It also states he got a restraining order against the daughter and tried but failed to get one for the mother. It makes no mention of the academic coach trying to convert the student to Catholicism, a claim made in the lawsuit.
University spokesman Paul Browne on Thursday issued a statement saying the university acted quickly after the student complained about the academic coach's conduct on Aug. 26. The statement described how the student asked for money from the school before the lawsuit was filed.
The university put the academic coach on leave pending an investigation, even though she had no professional relationship with him, according to Browne's statement. He said she was fired on Oct. 5.