ATLANTA — MaChelle Joseph may no longer be the women's basketball coach at Georgia Tech, but alleged victims are still speaking out about her past conduct.
On Monday, a new allegation surfaced involving Joseph and potential misconduct, dating back to 17 years ago, when she served as a Yellow Jackets assistant.
On her Facebook account, Niesha Alice Butler – who played for Georgia Tech from 1998-2002 – released a potentially damning statement about Joseph, through the Washington D.C.-based firm, the Moore Law Group.
It's worth noting: These accusations are apparently separate from the detailed findings with Georgia Tech's independent investigation into Joseph (handled by Littler Employment & Labor Law Solutions Worldwide), which was released to 11Alive News last week (through the Open Records Act).
UPDATE #1: Butler's lawyer has confirmed the authenticity of the Facebook post to 11Alive News.
UPDATE #2: Lisa Banks, MaChelle Joseph's attorney, offered this statement to 11Alive News, in lieu of Butler's allegation:
"My client, MaChelle Joseph categorically denies that anything like this ever happened. She stands by her statements in the response to the 'Confidential Investigation Report.'"
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Here are three excerpts from Butler's lengthy Facebook statement, presented verbatim and without any editorial comment from 11Alive News.
" ... after MaChelle Joseph was hired, the nature and quality of that experience (at Georgia Tech) took a much darker turn, which ultimately led to my leaving the program in January 2002.
"Since I left the program, and despite much speculations concerning the reason for my unexpected departure, I have chosen to remain most reticent, only confiding in close friends and family about my experiences at Georgia Tech, while MaChelle Joseph was there.
"My decision to stay silent was mostly rooted in my desire to protect both my privacy and emotional health, but also motivated by my desire to proactively move on from what was a very painful and challenging period of my life.
"However, (last week), after reading MaChelle Joseph's claim, through her attorney, that she 'never and would never subject (her) players to verbal or emotional abuse' ... I realized that I could no longer keep silent about the physical, emotional and even sexual harassment that experienced at the hand of MaChelle Joseph."
"During the time I played under MaChelle Joseph, I was sexually harassed, emotionally abused and physically abused by her. One of the darkest ... episodes occurred during a two-game road trip to North Carolina to play games against NC State and Wake Forest University.
"During that trip, MaChelle Joseph requested that I come to her room, so that she could speak with me. I didn't the think the request was odd, since coaches sometimes asked to talk to players privately about performance-related matters. My teammate, Ashely Ebert, saw me enter the room.
"While I was in MaChelle Joseph's room, I was made to feel extremely uncomfortable when she approached me and encroached upon my personal space. I remember being shocked and confused as I was standing up, and as she moved closer to me. She touched me in a very inappropriate way on my outer thigh and my butt.
"Startled, I quickly jumped back to resist her advances. After rebuffing her, (Joseph) then informed me that my career was over, and I would never play basketball at Georgia Tech again. I quickly left her room confused because I had never been sexually harassed by a coach. That night, I vividly recall going back to my room and just crying myself to sleep."
Among the itemized complaints from Butler, regarding Joseph:
- "Verbal abuse of my teammates and myself, including calling players 'weak,' 'stupid,' 'pu**ies,' 'cancers,' 'bi***es' and other expletives."
- "Pushing and shoving players during practices."
"I feel confident in sharing my experience in light of my view that Georgia Tech is being unfairly characterized by MaChelle Joseph, who is now trying to portray herself as a victim of gender inequality. ...
"Perhaps had I (spoken) out earlier about my own experiences with MaChelle Joseph, she could not have continued with that appears to be an unbroken pattern of abusive behavior that has transpired throughout her tenure at Georgia Tech and victimized scores of women's basketball players.
"It is my hope that MaChelle Joseph will never be allowed to prey on another student-athlete ever again."