Ex-Penn State majorette faced fat-shaming, sexual harassment by coach: lawsuit
A former Penn State majorette filed a federal lawsuit on Wednesday alleging sexual and gender-based harassment during her time as a member of the Blue Band.
Kaitlyn Wassel claimed in her suit that the school didnt protect her from the harassment of then-majorette coach Heather Bean, who resigned in 2022.
The allegations occurred between 2018 and Jan. 1, 2022, according to Penn Live.
Wassel is seeking unspecified damages over violations of Title IX and the equal protection clause of the Constitution.
She claimed that Blue Band director Gregory Drane and Penn State administrators were aware of Beans’ actions.
Among the allegations, Wassel said that Bean had started fat-shaming her during the fall semester of 2018 and made her wear a uniform that was too small, refusing to let Wassel exchange the outfit with teammates for a better-suited.
Additionally, Bean allegedly denied having her uniform altered by the team seamstress and Wassel said that the coach told her she needed to lose weight, leading to her developing an eating disorder she battled throughout college.
A former Penn State majorette is suing the school over alleged sexual and gender-based harassment. Icon Sportswire via Getty ImagesThe allegations made in the lawsuit continued to worsen as Wassel claimed Bean berated her after telling her she had been sexually assaulted in the fall of 2018 and refused to report it.
Other allegations of bullying included Bean blaming a lice outbreak on Wassel because she was such a whore, constantly calling on weekends her demanding to know her plans and whod she be with, and questioning her about her personal, social and sexual life.
Bean allegedly encouraged Wassels teammates to bully her and threatened to kick her off the team if Wassel went to the university to report her.
Wassel said in the suit that she has continued to suffer panic attacks and has been undergoing mental health treatment.
Penn State Nittany Lions marching band takes the field before a college football game. Icon Sportswire via Getty ImagesIn May 2021, she attempted suicide which forced her to remain in the hospital for several days, according to the Penn Live report.
The lawsuit also referred to a Feb. 27 letter about a joint affirmative action office/human resources.
Investigators found Beans behavior violated university policy but it could not substantiate the sexual discrimination and harassment complaints because there were no witnesses to some of the interactions, the outlet reported.
Additionally, it said that Bean could not be disciplined since she had already resigned.
The majorettes fall under the scope of the Blue Band, which is the universitys marching band.
The majorettes were established in 1972 under the former Blue Band Director James Dunlop, according to an article on Penn States website. Over the last five decades, the squad has not only become a beloved symbol of Penn State pride, but has also won several team and individual national championships.
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