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Tucker accuser says leak forced her to come forward with sexual harassment allegation

September 12, 2023
<p>Head coach Mel Tucker watches the field during the Spartans&#x27; 37-33 win against the Wolverines on Oct. 30, 2021.</p>

Head coach Mel Tucker watches the field during the Spartans' 37-33 win against the Wolverines on Oct. 30, 2021.

Photo by Devin Anderson-Torrez | The State News

Brenda Tracy, the rape survivor and advocate who accused Michigan State University head football coach Mel Tucker of sexual harassment, said she was forced to come forward because her identity was leaked to the media by an "outside party." 

A USA Today report released early Sunday morning revealed that Tracy had accused Tucker and that he was being investigated by MSU. By Sunday evening, the university suspended Tucker without pay pending the results of that investigation.

Tracy provided comments for USA Today's story and allowed the publication to review over 1200 pages of documents associated with the MSU investigation.

In a statement released by Tracy's attorney, Karen Truszkowski, on Tuesday, she said that Tracy never wanted to come forward publicly, but that "her choice to allow (MSU's investigation) to proceed privately was taken away" when local media learned her identity from someone else.

It's unclear who that was

The university does not officially release names or identifying information of victims in its investigations to media. Tucker and the investigators would have known Tracy's identity since she filed the complaint in December. University officials like the president and Board of Trustees only learned who she was in late July, Interim President Teresa Woodruff told the Lansing State Journal.

Tracy and Truszkowski did not return calls and emails from The State News seeking comment at time of publication

Her full statement is below

"An outside party disclosed Brenda Tracy’s identity to local media, which led to the USA Today story.

Brenda Tracy had no intention of publicly disclosing her identity. She was and continues to be committed to complying with and concluding the MSU internal investigative process. She respected the process and chose not to go to the media to preserve the integrity of the process.

After the investigation process was completed, we would have determined, what, if any further steps to take. Instead, her identity was disclosed without her knowledge or consent, warranting express actions to protect her. Her choice to allow this process to proceed privately was taken away.

Let me be patently clear: Brenda Tracy had no intention of disclosing anything publicly unless someone else violated her right to confidentiality."

Later Tuesday evening, Tracy clarified her attorney's statement on social media. She added that since filing the formal complaint, her "focus has been to navigate and complete the school process without the involvement of the public and the media." 

Her full statement is below:

"In regard to my name being leaked to the media without my consent and the timing of the USA Today column, I would like to offer some context and background. From the moment of filing my formal complaint against Coach Tucker in December 2022, my focus has been to navigate and complete the school process without the involvement of the public and the media. Given the high-profile nature of the case and the history of MSU as it pertains to other survivors of sexual misconduct, I entered the process hopeful but also with a healthy amount of skepticism. As the investigation moved forward, the behavior and statements made by Coach Tucker and his lawyer Jennifer Belveal made it very evident to me that I was going to need to defend and protect myself. I voluntarily shared documents with USA Today so that my story could be written and published after the conclusion of the school process, but also just in case my name leaked - which it did. I did not want to publish my story in the early morning hours last weekend, but I had no choice because someone outed me to the media. I am angry that my right to confidentiality has been violated and I hope that those responsible are held accountable. It is unacceptable that survivors must endure continued violations of our agency and autonomy in an attempt to seek justice and accountability for the harm done to us."

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