Dorrance Harassment Suit May Go to Court Next Fall

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An October court date is possible for UNC women’s soccer coach Anson Dorrance ’74 after settlement negotiations in his sexual harassment civil suit have stalled.

In a $12 million suit filed in 1998 by two former UNC players, Debbie Keller ’98 and Melissa Jennings ’00, Dorrance was accused of sexual harassment. Other University personnel, including Athletics Director Dick Baddour ’66 and Dorrance’s assistant coaches, also were named as defendants. A court date set for April will not be met because the extended period of discovery, which was requested by all parties, necessitated moving back the date.

Keller, who was national player of the year in 1995 and 1996, has alleged that Dorrance made unwanted sexual advances toward her while she was in school. Jennings, who left the team after two seasons, claims Dorrance encouraged her to drink alcohol and wrongfully dismissed her from the team. The suit claims Dorrance made alcoholic beverages available to players under the legal drinking age of 21.

Jennings also recounted an incident in which she was pressured to provide a $400 emergency loan for expenses during a game following Hurricane Fran. Jennings was reimbursed, and Dorrance and University administrators apologized for the incident.

Both women have accused Dorrance of invasion of privacy and intimidating them into providing details of their lives and those of their and teammates.

UNC administrators and former and current players have supported Dorrance. The University asked for the case to be dismissed in 1999; a 2002 ruling allowed it to go forward.