The FBI and the U.S. Army investigated complaints from four women that Hall of Fame basketball coach Bob Knight groped them or touched them inappropriately during a visit to a U.S. spy agency in 2015, an investigation that concluded a year later without charges, The Washington Post reported Friday.
One of the women, whose name The Post did not disclose, told the newspaper that Knight groped her on the buttocks shortly before he gave a speech to staffers at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency at its headquarters in Springfield, Virginia. The woman also filed a discrimination complaint against the NGA and the Defense Department in which she claimed she was pressured to drop the matter, The Post reported.
An attorney representing Knight, James Voyles, acknowledged to The Post that FBI agents interviewed Knight at his home in Montana last year and said the investigation was dropped shortly thereafter.
“There is absolutely no credible evidence to support this in our opinion, these allegations,” Voyles said, adding that the FBI agents “reported to their superiors that there was no basis for any further action, period.”
Knight, 76, did not comment to The Post, but his wife, Karen Knight, told the newspaper in a text message: “Bob did nothing wrong and there is NO evidence to prove that he did. Case closed.”
Another female NGA employee told The Post that Knight touched her on the shoulder and commented on the attractiveness of her legs as she drove him from Washington to the agency’s headquarters. She said the encounter made her uncomfortable but did not believe Knight’s actions to be “malicious.”
Another NGA official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told The Post that when Knight arrived, he greeted a female employee by putting his hands on the sides of her chest and lifting her off the ground. The woman declined to speak to the newspaper.
A fourth woman told The Post that Knight smacked her on the buttocks after his speech. She said she was interviewed by the FBI and other investigators but did not file a formal complaint.
The NGA and the office of the national intelligence director, who oversees the 17 U.S. intelligence agencies, did not immediately respond to requests for comment from The Associated Press Friday.
Knight was invited to speak at the little-known NGA, which analyzes imagery of the Earth’s surface and employs about 14,500 people, by its director, Robert Cardillo, a longtime friend. Cardillo later apologized to anyone at the agency who was offended by Knight’s visit.
In an interview, Cardillo told The Post he was “shocked” and “stunned” by the allegations.
Army investigators initially handled the probe but later handed it over to the FBI because Knight was a civilian, the newspaper reported, citing unnamed law enforcement officials. After consulting with federal prosecutors in Virginia, FBI agents concluded the evidence against Knight was not likely to result in a successful prosecution, The Post reported, citing a federal law enforcement official familiar with the case.
Knight is best known for his three-decade run as head coach of Indiana University’s men’s basketball team, during which the Hoosiers won three NCAA championships. He was fired in 2000 following a series of abuse allegations, including a videotape that appeared to show Knight choking a player during practice.