4 cheerleaders alleged that former senior vice president Rich Dalrymple filmed them undressing in the locker room in Sept. 2015. Dalrymple denies the claims to WFAA.
FRISCO, Texas — According to a Wednesday report from ESPN, the Dallas Cowboys paid out a multimillion dollar settlement to four Cowboys cheerleaders who accused the team’s former senior vice president of public relations and communications Rich Dalrymple of taking photos of them in the cheerleaders’ locker room in 2015.
The ESPN settlement reported on stems from accusations made in September 2015 during a Cowboys season kickoff luncheon, when four cheerleaders claim that Dalrymple used his security key card to enter the unguarded rear door of their locker room in order to allegedly record on his cell phone the women getting undressed.
According to ESPN, one of the cheerleaders alleged that she saw a phone sticking out from behind the wall, pointing in their direction — and, when she went to confront the person, she recognized it as the longtime Cowboys executive.
Sources told ESPN that Dalrymple claimed he went into the cheerleaders’ locker room to use the bathroom, and that he said he did not know the cheerleaders were in there at the time.
The cheerleaders’ lawyers sent a letter to Cowboys attorneys later that month stating plans to present evidence of misconduct by Dalrymple, ESPN reported. In the letter ESPN obtained, lawyers also questioned why Dalrymple went into the cheerleaders’ locker room when “a men’s restroom was 20 feet away.”
In a statement provided to WFAA, Dalrymple vehemently denied the allegations: “People who know me, co-workers, the media and colleagues, know who I am and what I’m about,” he said.
Per ESPN, the Cowboys investigated Dalrymple four months earlier after he was also accused by a lifelong Cowboys fan of taking “upskirt” photos of team senior vice president and Jerry Jones’ daughter Charlotte Jones Anderson during the 2015 NFL Draft. The fan, who ESPN reports later signed an affidavit, watched the livestream of the Cowboys war room when he allegedly saw Dalrymple take multiple photos of Jones Anderson.
Randy Horton, a schoolteacher in Shreveport, Louisiana, posted his observation to the Facebook pages of Jones Anderson and his local television station KSLA.
“The organization took these allegations extremely seriously and moved immediately to thoroughly investigate this matter,” Cowboys spokesman Jim Wilkinson issued in a statement to WFAA. “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.”
In 2016, the Cowboys reached a $2.4 million settlement with the cheerleaders, each of whom received nearly $400,000 after lawyers fees.
“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’s statement provided to WFAA continued. “Everyone involved felt just terrible about this unfortunate incident.”
Per ESPN, the settlement remained confidential until a former Cowboys executive tipped ESPN off five months ago to the allegations against Dalrymple.
“The most basic common sense tells you that if Jerry Jones believed in any way that someone had even remotely done something like that to any member of his family, that person would have been fired immediately,” Wilkinson said his statement to WFAA.
Dalrymple retired from his post in early February, shortly after ESPN says he began contacting the team about the settlement.
Despite 32 years working by Jerry Jones’ side, the Cowboys made no announcement of his retirement.
“I understand the very serious nature of these claims and do not take them lightly,” Dalrymple said in his statement to WFAA. “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.”
Dallas attorney Michelle Simpson Tuegel told WFAA that the report raises more questions without answers.
Simpson Tuegel has made national headlines working with athletes who have faced sexual assault and harassment. Her most notable work was representing gymnasts who were abused by Larry Nassar while competing for Team USA.
“Frankly, when I saw this, I wasn’t surprised,” Simpson Tuegel said. “This is the classic ‘he said, she said’ — but it’s actually ‘he said’ vs four ‘she said.'”
Simpson Tuegel says it’s troubling that the report indicated that the women weren’t interviewed by the team for eight days. She also thought the team could have done more when Dalrymple, per the report, told the Cowboys he only had a team phone and not a personal one.
“He said he didn’t have any other phones, and it appears that they just took his word for it? Why?” Simpson Tuegel asked.
Simpson Tuegel finds many aspects of the report suspicious.
“Coming from experience with these cases, when you hear no evidence of wrongdoing and then there’s a settlement… $2.4 million doesn’t point towards zero evidence.”