Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders Voyeurism Lawsuit Settled for $2.4M. #MeToo Reckoning Continues & Organizations That Don’t Safeguard Female Employees Are Paying the Price.
Four members of the Dallas Cowboys‘ iconic cheerleading squad filed suit against the organization alleging voyeurism on the part of a senior executive as he watched them undress during a 2015 event at the AT&T stadium – and the Dallas Cowboys settled for a total of $2.4M.
The claim concerns Richard Dalrymple, senior vice president of public relations and communications, allegedly standing behind a wall in the cheerleaders’ locker room with his phone directed towards the women as they changed, having used a security card to enter the locked area.
He was also accused of taking “upskirt” photos of a fifth woman, Charlotte Jones Anderson, another senior vice president and daughter of owner Jerry Jones, during a live-streamed war room meeting during the 2015 NFL draft. A fan made the accusation and signed an affidavit that he had been watching the live stream hosted on the Cowboys’ website when he witnessed the event.
While the Cowboys quickly disputed these claims in a statement that they “thoroughly investigat[ed]” the matter and “found no evidence of wrongdoing,” they nevertheless do not dispute that Dalrymple used his key card to access the locked changing room while the cheerleaders were changing clothes.
Formal Written Warning Smoking Gun
However, a source maintains that there was a formal warning written to Dalrymple by the team in October 2015 – suggesting that this executive’s behavior was known to the organization, at least enough to issue a light reprimand but still keep the man on. He continued working at the organization for six years following the settlement. Once ESPN began asking employees about the confidential settlement, Dalrymple announced his immediate retirement.
An ex-cheerleader noted that this man’s behavior became well known among the cheerleaders, and even expected: “It was a very …shut the book, don’t talk about it, this person is going to stay in his position… They just made it go away.”
The alleged incident occurred in September 2015 during an annual charity banquet called the Kickoff Luncheon, which included the four cheerleader complainants. After making their appearance in their uniforms, the women went to the locker room to change out of their regalia before rejoining the luncheon around noon.
They heard the door open, and they had thought that the person who opened it had been a regular security guard who immediately left upon realizing that the women were still getting changed. However, after several minutes, they noticed a man’s hand and a phone being pointed in their direction while they had been getting fully unclothed – believing that the man had been taking photos and/or videos of them while they had been changing. One of the women ran towards him and he dashed away, but not before she recognized Dalrymple.
Police not called
The cheerleaders immediately notified a security guard, who supposedly wanted to involve the Arlington police department. Had the claim been investigated by the police, it would have been a misdemeanor to secretly watch a person without consent and a felony to take a nonconsensual photo or video of them while unclothed under Texas law. The police, however, were not called.
Human Resources investigates
Human resources were involved – and we all know how that goes. It took eight days for them to meet with the women affected. When they did, they told the women that Dalrymple had said that he had only accidentally entered the room with the intention to use the bathroom and had no idea that they would be there. This was puzzling to the cheerleaders – as there had been a bathroom across the hall from the locker room that was not under security guard and did not require a key card to enter. HR also maintained that they had searched Dalrymple’s phone with the help of forensics and did not find any images.
So basically: the company “investigated” and conducted an interview with the accused, who of course claimed innocence – and concluded the investigation there. There was no attempt to review Dalrymple’s personal phone – he stated he had no personal phone (how likely is this in 2015?). And the women were not told whether the security camera footage had been reviewed, which would have been some of the only objective evidence available at the scene. Then the cheerleaders were instructed not to go public or to let their other female colleagues know of the incident.
That’s when they filed the lawsuit. In searching for other evidence of Dalrymple’s misbehavior, they hit upon the Cowboys fan’s Facebook post that indicated that the man had been witnessed taking upskirt photos “on several occasions” during the aforementioned live stream event. The women’s legal team obtained a copy of the live stream. And, of course, the Cowboys’ HR team had reviewed the evidence and “found no wrongdoing” by Dalrymple. Then they wrote him a disciplinary letter and revoked his access rights to the women’s locker room.
We all know now that the Dallas Cowboys ended up settling with the claimants for over two million dollars, and a condition of the settlement was signing a nondisclosure agreement in which the cheerleaders were effectively legally gagged from speaking up. Two of the cheerleaders left the squad shortly thereafter.
It’s a familiar story that we see occurring at institutions and workplaces all across the nation. Some top-dollar degenerate with a pedigree or a great salesman is allowed to get away time and time again with disgusting acts, even rising to the level of criminal assault – because we as a society simply find it too “hard to believe” that a man who’s good at his job, or even for all appearances a “good guy,” can still be capable of being the worst sort of misogynistic creep or rapist. Or maybe there are those of us who can believe it, but they just don’t care. Let’s hope that the deluge of lawsuits in the wake of #MeToo changes that – if only for the reason that companies will no longer be able to afford to perpetuate a culture of misogyny and sexual discrimination.
Bring Justice to Those Responsible
Contact Dr. Shezad Malik Law Firm at 214-390-3189 today to bring justice to all of those responsible for this crime. A lawyer can help secure monetary damages to go towards putting your life back together and punish parties who may have been complicit in what happened to you. While criminal actions will put the perpetrator behind bars, a civil action is all about helping the victim recover from such a traumatic incident.
Our consultation is free and no obligation. There are no up-front costs to hire us – our fee comes from the final settlement or verdict.