Jessica Dorrell May Be a Sexual Harassment Victim -- Do We Buy That?

Bobby Petrino

Jessica Dorrell may not be an innocent victim in this whole sordid Bobby Petrino affair, but she deserves more sympathy and understanding than people are giving her. If not sympathy, then they should at least stop immediately jumping to conclusions about her relationship with Petrino. If the current actions of the university are any indication, there's a lot more going on here than we know. Bobby Petrino was fired for lying about the relationship and misleading the university, as well he deserves. Josh Morgan, Dorrell's presumed ex-fiance, has also left his job as director of swimming and diving operations -- no word on whether he left voluntarily or was fired for some mysterious reason.

But as of this point in time, Dorrell still has her job as student-athlete development coordinator of the football program. This can only mean one thing ...

Dorrell's role in the scandal is not cut-and-dried -- from either an ethical or legal point of view. Word has it that Dorrell, who has gone into "safe mode" and is not even returning calls to her friends and family, has hired a lawyer and might now sue the university for sexual harassment.

Surely that's one of the reasons the university has not fired Dorrell already. Apparently under Arkansas law, someone can be sexually harassed even when the relationship and the sex is consensual, as long as other factors are at play.

Read more: Bobby Petrino Got Fired, But Jessica Dorrell Got Screwed

Bobby Petrino was clearly in a power position over Dorrell, being the football god he was, her boss, and also being twice her age. He hired her on his staff, out of several other candidates, under the illicit guise of their relationship. He gave her $20,000 as a "gift."

Sure, Dorrell accepted and went willingly along with all of it -- but who knows why. Maybe it was more about the relationship than the money or the job -- did anyone consider that Dorrell might have been in love with him? Who knows what Petrino told her or promised her. Perhaps the lavish gifts and promotion -- and her engagement -- were all concessions for a life she knew she would never have with a married family man. She is 25, after all. Women that age are known to be impressionable and naive.

Read more: Jessica Dorrell Ruined Her Wedding for Old Bobby Petrino & His Bike

While everyone can argue to death who is more at fault for the relationship, ultimately it's the university that's responsible for letting it happen and for the fallout, and Dorrell's lawyer undoubtedly knows that. Fire Dorrell and they are almost guaranteed a lawsuit, and this whole mess drags on even longer. Right now all the players are weighing their cards, waiting for the other to make the first move before they make theirs.

Was it sexual harassment? Legally and technically -- probably. But is it really really? That all depends on Jessica Dorrell. It's her move now. Will she try to play the victim and sue, foolishly thinking this could save even a shred of her reputation and dignity? Or will she just let it lie, hope it goes away, and somehow try to make a new life for herself, big lesson learned. This game is far from over yet.

Was Jessica Dorrell sexually harassed by Coach Petrino and should she sue the university over it? Will this help her?


Image via Chris Graythen/Getty

coaches, college sports, football, scandal


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Stink... Stinkydog

Jessica should probably try and secure whatever financial settlement she can get for herself now and try to move far, far away because regardless of whether she chooses to stay in her current job (and I doubt she will, but not b/c of U of A will fire her but because her work environment will be laughable), the folks in Arkansas will never, ever let her live this down.  Trust me, I'm from there and they do love a scandal...  



nonmember avatar Guest

There are many in Arkansas who believe this women has cost the university a shot at a national championship next season. Good luck in finding any jury in the state that will rule in her favor.

Texas... TexasSonrisa

Sexual harassment? Really? Does anyone take responsibility for their actions anymore? She had an affair with a MARRIED man. She willingly applied for and accepted a position under said married man, who in turn became her BOSS. It's a shame that AK law could possibly make it easier for her to file a ridiculous lawsuit. I'm also finding it hard to wrap my head around the idea that it's the university's responsibility. Are you serious? They're grown-ups, not pre-schoolers. She made her bed, just as Petrino did, she should now have to lie in it, just like he has to, WITHOUT finiancial compensation. You talked about love, well, she was engaged to another man, which you would presume she "loved", and if she didn't she shouldn't have been engaged.

And, BTW, it's annoying you think 2-year-old women are that naive and impressionable. Some of us can actually think for ourselves. We also aren't all swayed by a sugar daddy throwing money at us.

nonmember avatar bystander

Texas Sonrisa stated everything so well that I have only a few more things to add. Completely agree that the notion of a 25 year old grown woman as being "young and impressionable" is pure hogwash. She holds a masters degree and is obviously well educated and far from naive. She was every bit as duplicitous, deceptive, two-faced and two-timing as Bobby Petrino. The relationship benefited both. In fact, in some states, the exchange of money for sexual favors is called "prostitution." When you are presenting yourself as one thing -- an engaged woman in love with her fiance -- yet living a very different life as the paid mistress of a wealthy man, there is not much room for sympathy and victimhood.

AHowa... AHoward66

Yes. All women are weak naive twits who can't be responsible for their actions. It's always the big bad mans fault! Let's sue them all!!!

nonmember avatar Krystal Kinsey

C'mon. Any woman accepting $20,000 from a married man is not naive. She knew she probably could get more and worked it! Both were wrong! Besides, Long's speech gave me the impression that Patrino had other issues.

nonmember avatar scott goodsen

petrino is just a bad guy. the athletic director was put in a tough situation. he made the right decision.

Polly... PollyCShafer

TexasSonrisa, I agree with you. My only complaint is that you used the abbreviation for Alaska. Arkansas is AR.

Rod Combs

How is it the fault and responsibility of the University?!? How is it possible to know what goes on in each individuals' personal lives, without violating their rights?

Was the University supposed to be aware of this relationship? Petrino is a married man, and Dorrell is ENGAGED to be married. Both (presumably) are responsible adults and I'm sure knew damn well what they were doing. Yet, the University is responsible for this happening? Get real, that's a joke!

kkey75 kkey75

Seriously? How do you think this is the university's fault? She was a willing participant in this relationship for months. And yes, she's 25 yo. Plenty old enough to have learned at some point in her life that it is not acceptable to have a relationship with a man who is married with 4 children. Plenty old enough to know that a man twice her age had no business giving her $20,000. This woman has destroyed not only her own life, but also innocent parties: her fiancé and Petrino' wife and children. She took a job knowing it was only her relationship with the boss that got it for her. Those jobs usually take 6 months or more to fill (I know, I live in Fayetteville) and this one was filled in much less time. I have heard 24 hours, but I'm not sure that is exactly true. The point is, she was no innocent party and to paint her as such is ridiculous. She knew what she was doing and if she didn't know it was wrong, she needs some serious counseling. The best thing this girl could do is find another job in another state and start over. Because she will never have any sympathy from the people of Arkansas.

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