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Former Drake University Coach Sues, Alleging Antigay Discrimination

Drake University

Courtney Graham claims she was forced to resign because she's a lesbian.

A former assistant women's basketball coach at Drake University in Des Moines has sued the school, alleging she was forced to resign because she's a lesbian.

In the suit, filed Friday in federal court, Courtney Graham says that after she brought then-partner Kristal Flowers (now her wife) to a home game in November 2014, she became subjected to gossip and harassment by head coach Jennie Baranczyk, The Des Moines Register reports.

The suit "claims that Baranczyk sent Graham home multiple times without explanation, excluded her from team meetings and scouting trips, and stripped her of job duties until the only remaining tasks she had were similar to those of an intern," according to the Register. Baranczyk also started gossip about Graham's treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, the suit alleges.

Baranczyk asked for Graham's resignation May 14, 2015, and when Graham resisted, pressured her until she finally resigned the following month, according to the suit. Graham says she has been unable to find a new position because Baranczyk has provided "negative information" to prospective employers.

The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Des Moines, accuses Baranczyk and the university of violating the Iowa Civil Rights Act, which forbids discrimination based on sexual orientation. It further alleges negligence, retaliation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and harassment. Baranczyk and Drake have yet to file a formal response in court, the Register reports. University officials declined comment to the paper, and Baranczyk's attorney did not respond to requests for comment.

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