Former N.Y.P.D. narcotics detective Kelley Hardwick, who now serves as a Director in the NBA’s Security Department, alleges that Coach Geno Auriemma of University of Connecticut Women’s Basketball Team retaliated against Hardwick after she rebuffed his sexual advances during a 2009 trip to Russia with the USAB Women’s Senior National Team.
According to the complaint filed in New York State Supreme Court, Coach Geno Auriemma, who also heads the 2012 U.S. Olympic Women’s Senior National Team, followed Hardwick from the lobby lounge to her hotel room in Russia on October 9, 2009 and, approaching her from behind, “took hold of her left arm” and “forcibly tried to kiss her on the mouth.” Hardwick quickly rebuffed Auriemma’s advances by shoving him away and warning him to “check himself before you get hurt.”
Hardwick said she notified her supervisors of the incident when she returned to the NBA office but nothing was done to investigate the matter. Hardwick also alleges that Auriemma’s behavior after the incident went from discomfort and avoidance, to out right vindictiveness and retaliation, and ultimately culminated in her removal from the upcoming 2012 Summer Olympics security assignment in London.
Hardwick claims she later learned that Auriemma specifically asked to have her removed from the London assignment and his request was granted by top executives of the NBA Security Department during a March 24, 2012 conference call.
Auriemma has made a number of statements to the press this week, including an official statement issued through USA Basketball, saying, “This claim is beyond false. I will defend myself to the fullest, and I’m confident that the truth will ultimately prevail. In the meantime, I remain focused on representing the United States this summer and getting our team ready to compete for the gold medal.”
Hardwick has also named the NBA and USA Basketball as defendants in her suit claiming employees of the organizations denied her numerous employment opportunities and salary increases that were readily available to “male counterparts who performed similar functions within the NBA Security Department” or who had less experience providing Olympic team security than Hardwick.
A special thanks to Margaret Corchado for helping with this post. Margaret is a third-year law student at Brooklyn Law School.