AP: Mel Tucker sexually harassed Brenda Tracy, MSU hearing officer rules

A Michigan State University hearing officer has determined that former Michigan State football coach Mel Tucker sexually harassed rape survivor and activist Brenda Tracy, a person familiar with the ruling told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

The hearing officer ruled Tucker was in violation of several terms of his contract, according to the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to comment publicly on the investigation.

Tucker, who was fired nearly a month ago after initially being suspended, has 10 days to file an appeal.

The report came after a scheduled hearing was held to determine whether Tucker had violated MSU's sexual harassment policy. The hearing officer's ruling is a victory for Tracy, who went public with the investigation after details of her allegations were leaked to the press. 

Tucker made sexually suggestive comments and masturbated during a phone call with Tracy while on a work-related trip in Florida, the investigation states. A day after the investigation was made public, Tucker was suspended by the athletic director.

He claimed the hearing process was a sham and said "other motives" were at play behind the school's decision to remove him.

The hearing took place on Oct. 5 and 6. 

Title IX process

According to MSU's Office of Civil Rights, the Title IX investigation process begins when a formal complaint is filed with the department. The grievance process includes an investigation, hearing, and appeal. 

At that time, the complaint is made known to the accused. Only the investigator, the accused, and the accuser are aware of the details of the complaint at this time.

During the investigation, both parties are interviewed by an investigator. It's during that time when both can present information to the investigator. At the conclusion of the investigation, a report is submitted to both parties before an officer convenes a hearing. 

During the hearing, both parties can ask questions and clarify facts within the case. Twenty days after that, the officer issues a written decision on whether the accused is responsible or not responsibile for violating the policy.

Both parties can submit appeals to an Equity Review Officer within 10 days of the decision. An appeals process will then play out.