A female employee within the Washington Commanders’ organization accused owner Daniel Snyder of sexual harassment and assault in April 2009, according to a report by the Washington Post.
In a letter obtained by the Post that a team attorney sent to the woman’s lawyer, the alleged victim said that Snyder asked for sex, groped her and also attempted to remove her clothes. According to the letter, the encounter happened in a secluded area of a private plane on a flight back to Washington following a work trip.
The letter was written by Howard Shapiro of WilmerHale law firm, which was tasked with helping look into the accusations against Snyder. Shapiro insisted that the claims were “knowingly false.”
Snyder also denied the woman’s claims, according to the letter.
A $1.6 million settlement was reached in 2009, originally reported by the Post in 2020. The woman had accused Snyder of sexual misconduct, but there were no further details reported since the settlement was confidential, and the woman was not allowed to speak publicly on the matter.
The team’s investigation of the sexual assault allegations was supervised by then-general counsel David Donovan, though at the time the NFL’s conduct policy stated that the league office must oversee any sexual assault investigations.
Donovan noted that passengers on the plane who had been interviewed did not mention any signs of struggle. He also said that the woman was flirtatious and wore provocative clothing to combat a claim that she made stating that she had an “impeccable personal and professional reputation.”
The report comes one day before NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is scheduled to testify remotely before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, which is investigating Snyder and the Commanders over various accusations of workplace misconduct. Snyder has declined to testify.