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2 Ohio State coaches fired following investigation into sexual harassment complaint

Two assistant Ohio State cheerleading coaches were fired in May following a university investigation into a sexual harassment complaint against the two men.

The cheerleading team’s head coach, Lenee Buchman, failed to properly report the complaint, but she was retained by the university, according to a letter to Buchman from Kim Heaton, the OSU athletic department’s director of human resources.

Assistant coaches Dana Bumbrey and Eddie Hollins were both terminated “for cause” May 23, according to letters to each coach from Heaton. The Lantern obtained the records Nov. 7 to fill a record request filed Aug. 30.

A June 20 letter addressed to Buchman said it served as a “follow up to our investigation of the sexual harassment complaint made against the cheerleading assistant coaches,” adding that the investigation found Buchman “did not follow the proper channels” of reporting an initial complaint from an OSU cheerleader and instead tried to resolve the issues on her own. The letter also stated OSU coaches are “required to report any complaints that a reasonable person would believe to be sexual harassment.”

Buchman has been OSU’s head coach since July 2009. The June 20 letter said Buchman and her coaching staff would be required to attend a sexual harassment education session in July.

Bumbrey, a 1995 graduate of OSU, had been a member of the coaching staff since August 2009 and was an OSU cheerleader from 1992-95. Hollins, a 1994 OSU graduate, was in his third stint as a member of the OSU coaching staff.

Hollins did not respond to multiple requests for comment from The Lantern. Attempts to reach Bumbrey were unsuccessful.

The two assistant coaches were replaced by Steve Chorba and Ray Sharp, who were announced as the team’s new assistant coaches Aug. 22. Buchman received a 1 percent salary raise on Aug. 23, one day after the assistant coaches’ hirings were announced, to $43,003 from her former salary of $42,577.

In an interview with The Lantern in August, Buchman declined to comment on the firings of Bumbrey and Hollins.

“I can’t really discuss personnel decisions,” Buchman said. “I’m really excited about our staff. I think the combination of Steve and Ray in moving forward is just going to be a really positive outlook for the program, and I see great things happening.”

John Camillus, an attorney representing former OSU cheerleader Cody Ellis, told The Lantern his client was harassed by Hollins.

“Cody Ellis came forward with claims of sexual harassment at the hands of (an) Ohio State coach. He came forward repeatedly, and he shouldn’t have to come forward repeatedly,” Camillus said.

However, the actual investigation into Hollins and Bumbrey began, Camillus said, when a sexual harassment report was made anonymously through EthicsPoint, OSU’s anonymous reporting line, April 6.

Ellis has not filed any lawsuits against OSU or any current or former members of the coaching staff, Camillus said.

Camillus said Ellis, a fifth-year in exercise science, is still enrolled at OSU.

Follow The Lantern for continuing coverage of this story.

7 comments

  1. Buchman had a duty to act and failed miserably. Not only did she allow a culture of sexual joking between the coaches and cheerleaders, she failed to notify OSU officials when she became aware of information that would lead a reasonable person to believe that sexual harassment had occurred. If the University has no tolerance for this behavior they should also have fired Buchman. Instead, they have sent a message to students to keep your mouth shut about harassment or risk becoming a victim of not only harassment but also retaliation.

  2. Once again, only the men are being held accountable. Yes, the alleged perpetrators were fired. But Buchman, as the head coach, had a duty that she failed to do.

    Did we not learn anything from Penn State? Paterno must be spinning in his grave. By not nipping a hostile environment in the bud, Buchman actively promoted sexual harassment within her locus of control.

    I say, “Off with her head!” Or at the very least, she should feel the toe of Brutus’ boot on the way out the door.

  3. I for one am baffled that this could happen post-Penn State. Ohio State felt compelled to send Buchman to sexual harassment training, but not fire her? What a joke. As an alum, I am simply embarrassed and would never let my child cheer at my alma mater.

  4. It is amazing how Ellis can get away with all of these lies without any proof. I guess that having a slick lawyer helps.

  5. To anonymous dated 11-22-13. you need to get the real facts before you call someone a liar. He has text messages on his phone that were send by the 1 assistant coach. It has nothing to do with the lawyer. It is all about someone standing up and not taking the sexual harassment. Do you think Ohio State is to big to be guilty of such a thing? You’d better think again. Your statement is like someone that is friends with Buchman or the other coaches. To bad the truth must hurt you.

  6. Hey Little Dick:

    It’s a two-way street. You cannot accuse someone of sexual harrassment if you are guilty of the same thing!! Ellis has done many sexually explicit things, but as soon as he gets a text message, he reports someone for sexual harrassment. I am not condoning what Hollins did, but don’t throw stones if you live in a glass house!

  7. Sandusky abused little boys. What Hollins did was wrong, but there is no reason to put these people in the same category as that dirt bag!!!

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