After two Ohio State University cheerleading coaches were fired in May for sexual harassment allegations, one of the cheerleaders who reported the behavior has been kicked off the team.
“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,” John Camillus, an attorney representing former OSU cheerleader Cody Ellis, told the university news outlet.
Ellis told investigators Eddie Hollins slapped male students’ butts or testicles and made sexually suggestive jokes towards them. Dana Bumbrey made similar remarks towards female cheerleaders – nicknaming one cheerleader “Fornicate” and commenting the size of their buttocks during routines, the Columbus Dispatch reports.
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The 22-year-old also said he received sexually explicit text messages from Hollins. Ellis said the messages started after he told the coach he was gay. One of the texts said “can’t wait to see your hit (hot) a–” and “send me some pics and video.”
Ellis was removed from the cheerleading team in August, allegedly for his bad attitude. He was temporarily suspended in July after a sexual-misconduct complaint was made against him – but a university investigation later cleared him of the charge. Ellis’ lawyer contends his removal from the team was a form of retaliation for complaining about the coach’s inappropriate behavior.
“This retaliation by the head coach is despicable, and the university’s unwillingness to protect students who come forward as victims of sexual misconduct is equally abhorrent,” Camillus said.
Gary Lewis Jr., an OSU spokesman said Ellis’ removal was not related to the complaints he made against Hollins.
The termination of the two assisting cheerleading coaches stemmed from anonymous complaints given to the university’s ethics hotline. Investigation records indicate that complaints described how Hollins reportedly harassed male cheerleaders, and Bumbrey targeted female ones, the Lantern reports.
Hollins and Bumbrey were fired in May after the investigation revealed they violated the school’s Sexual Harassment Policy that prohibits “sexual comments,” “sexually explicit statements” and “unwanted touching” among other sexually charged advances.
“Ohio State University has no tolerance for this type of behavior,” Lewis said. “The university conducted a complete and thorough investigation and found that the behaviors of Hollins and Bumbrey were inconsistent with university values and violated university policies.”
Both assistant coaches were OSU alumni. Bumbrey graduated in 1995, was on the cheerleading team as a student, and member of the coaching staff since August 2009. Hollins, a 1994 OSU graduate, and was coaching the team for the third time.
This isn’t the first time Hollins had received complaints for inappropriate behavior. In 2006, he was investigated after he reportedly showered in front of students at the Athletic Club in downtown Columbus.
As part of the university’s investigation, the team’s head cheerleading coach, Lenee Buchman, and her staff has been ordered to attend a sexual harassment education session.