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The allegations of a culture of misogyny at the Washington Football Team continue to come out of the woodwork. At least 40 women — 15 came forward in July, 25 in August — have accused current and former team employees of sexual harassment and misconduct since the summer, and the latest allegation directly involves team owner Dan Snyder.
The Washington Post reported on Tuesday that the Football Team paid $1.6 million to settle a sexual misconduct claim against Snyder in 2009. The settlement is confidential but was reportedly uncovered by the NFL during its investigation into the many other sexual harassment and misconduct claims that have been leveled against the team.
Incident on Snyder’s private plane
Most of the details of the incident are not known, though it allegedly happened when Snyder and possibly others were on his private plane returning from the Academy of Country Music Awards. According to the Post, Snyder’s business partners called it “a serious accusation of sexual misconduct” in a recent court filing, which is part of Snyder’s ongoing feud with the team’s minority owners.
While a few records of this case are public, the vast majority are not. Team lawyers have been fighting to keep it that way, suing to stop the release of documents that would disclose the details. The Post reported that lawyers are now negotiating about possible redactions to the documents, with lawyers for the Post arguing that redactions should be “minimal.”
The Post has a copy of the 2009 settlement agreement, which reveals that the woman was fired for cause after she made the allegations, but both parties agreed to change her employee record to show that she “voluntarily resigned” as part of the settlement. The team also provided her with a letter of recommendation. No wrongdoing was acknowledged by either Snyder or the team.
More tensions between Snyder, minority owners
The 2009 misconduct allegations are referenced in a recent New York Times story, and presents them in a way that’s very favorable to Snyder. The Times reported that after an outside investigation determined that the woman “lied to team lawyers” about the allegations, Washington fired her, and the $1.6 million settlement was simply to avoid any “negative publicity.”
The team’s minority owners strongly dispute that version of events, and accused Snyder of being the source for the Times’ story in court papers filed Monday.
“This self-serving and one-sided framing of a serious accusation of sexual misconduct against Mr. Snyder, which depicts the victim as someone who ‘lied’ and portrays the settlement solely as a payment ‘to avoid negative publicity if the woman sued,’ further confirms that Mr. Snyder or his agents are the source of the leaks of confidential information.”
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