Montana State announcer Jay Sanderson has resigned amid sex harassment allegations from a female reporter who claims he touched her buttocks.
The university’s play-by-play broadcaster for football and men’s basketball denies allegations that he also sent Amie Just sexually suggestive text messages.
He said that he left his position as ‘the voice of the Bobcats’ last month to help an ill family member in Wichita, Kansas, according to The Billings Gazette.
But internal university documents show the university investigated Sanderson after former Missoulian reporter Just filed a complaint in September.
Just, who gave The Associated Press permission to use her name, said Sanderson created a hostile environment and hurt her ability to do her job, the report said.
And a draft report concluded he more likely than not ‘engaged in unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature’ by sending multiple sexually harassing text messages, making sexually explicit statements and by making unwanted sexual contact.
Montana State announcer Jay Sanderson, pictured, has resigned amid sex harassment claims from a female reporter that he touched her inappropriately on her buttocks – a claim he denies
Amie Just, pictured left, alleges that Sanderson, pictured right, touched her inappropriately and sent her sexually suggestive text messages
A ‘no contact’ order was also issued in October barring Sanderson and Just from any communication with each other by the schools interim Title IX coordinator Emily Stark.
Interviews with witnesses for the investigation said Just appeared shaken at a Big Sky football event in July.
They also claimed Just told them that Sanderson had touched her inappropriately on her buttocks, according to the report.
He is also accused of telling her she had ‘amazing t*ts’.
Just, who now covers Louisiana State University sports for the Times-Picayune, is also said to have provided the investigator with suggestive text messages Sanderson sent her in February.
He allegedly wrote: ‘We can get drunk and make bad decisions. Looks like we have a love connection. Don’t fight it.’
Just is said to have replied: ‘Considering I’m not interested…’ and later told him ‘I f–king hate you’.
Sanderson allegedly replied: ‘No you don’t. You LOVE me… And you know it! Hahahaha It’s ok, I won’t tell!’
He said the texts have been taken out context, according to reports.
A draft report written at the end of November concluded that Sanderson more likely than not ‘engaged in unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature’
Just, who now covers Louisiana State University sports for the Times-Picayune, said Sanderson created a hostile environment and hurt her ability to do her job
She reported on the University of Montana’s football team for just over one season.
Just told the Gazette: ‘I wouldn’t wish this on anyone. I want to move forward with my life. I hope everyone involved can do the same.’
She added: ‘The assaults and harassment are why I decided to pursue a new opportunity and leave Montana. I was prepared to leave the journalism industry altogether had I not found another job.’
Montana State University said it does not comment on individual cases and that the investigatory report is not a public document.
Sanderson, who had been in his position since 2014 and resigned at the end of December, said he was moving to Wichita because ‘members of my family have been befallen by devastating health issues’.
He said: ‘My wife knows that it’s not true, those closest to me know it’s not true, I’ve got a lot of really good people supporting me. It’s not true. I didn’t do what she said I did.
Amie Just retweeted a news story about the investigation into Sanderson and said #metoo
Sanderson was a part-time employee of the university and a full-time employee of Learfield Sports.
The report said the university has jurisdiction to investigate him because of his employment and because he was ‘the public face for MSU Athletics’.
Sanderson denies the allegations, said he considered Just a friend and that the investigation had nothing to do with his resignation.
He added: ‘Not one bit. I would’ve resigned if there had not been any of this going on.’
A final report is expected this month.