The Dallas Cowboys paid a confidential settlement of $2.4 million to members of their cheerleading squad after an alleged 2015 incident involving a team executive in their locker room, ESPN reported Wednesday.
The suit followed allegations against longtime senior vice president for public relations and communications Rich Dalrymple, whom cheerleaders alleged stood behind a partial wall in their locker room with his iPhone extended toward them while they changed clothes.
Dalrymple was also accused of taking “upskirt” photos of Cowboys executive vice president/chief brand officer Charlotte Jones, the daughter of team owner Jerry Jones, during the 2015 NFL draft. A fan signed an affidavit that he saw the alleged incident while watching a livestream of the team’s war room, ESPN reported.
Dalrymple retired this month after 32 years with the organization. He told ESPN that allegations “had nothing to do with my retirement from a long and fulfilling career, and I was only contacted about this story after I was retired.”
Dalrymple denied accusations that he took photos or video in either incident, saying his presence in the cheerleaders’ locker room was “accidental.”
“People who know me, co-workers, the media and colleagues, know who I am and what I’m about,” Dalrymple said in a statement to ESPN. “I understand the very serious nature of these claims and do not take them lightly. The accusations are, however, false. One was accidental and the other simply did not happen. Everything that was alleged was thoroughly investigated years ago, and I cooperated fully.”
The Cowboys issued a statement through spokesman Jim Wilkinson.
“The organization took these allegations extremely seriously and moved immediately to thoroughly investigate this matter,” Wilkinson said in a statement provided to USA TODAY Sports on Wednesday. “The investigation was handled consistent with best legal and HR practices and the investigation found no evidence of wrongdoing. If any wrongdoing had been found Rich would have been terminated immediately.”
Dalrymple was issued a formal written warning in October 2015, ESPN reported, after an investigation that included interviews with him, the cheerleaders and the security guard outside the locker room. General counsel Jason Cohen confiscated Dalrymple’s work-issued iPhone and obtained passwords for his phone and iCloud account that day. Cohen also sent Dalrymple a letter ordering him to preserve any evidence related to the allegation, Wilkinson told ESPN.
Each of the women received $399,523.27 after the incident.
“The cheerleaders are a vital part of the Dallas Cowboys family, and in terms of the settlement, the organization wanted to go above and beyond to ensure the cheerleaders knew that their allegations had been taken extremely seriously, and immediately and thoroughly investigated,” Wilkinson said in a statement to USA TODAY Sports. “Everyone involved felt just terrible about this unfortunate incident.”
Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Jori Epstein on Twitter @JoriEpstein.