Pistons cleared exec Rob Murphy months ago in sexual misconduct case, lawyer says

Detroit Free Press

A lawyer for fired Detroit Pistons executive Rob Murphy disclosed a bombshell Thursday, alleging the Pistons cleared his client months ago of sexual harassment following an internal investigation into claims that Murphy taunted, groped and assaulted his former executive assistant.

Attorney Steven Potter did not explain why the Pistons still fired Murphy in the wake of the scandal, but he did say he received an email from the Pistons’ lawyer in February stating the investigation was complete and determined the following: “(T)he investigation concluded that the available evidence does not support a finding of harassment, discrimination, and/or retaliation by Rob or the Pistons organization against Ms. Raska.”

The email is referring to DeJanai Raska, a 32-year-old mother who alleges Murphy subjected her to months of verbal and physical sexual harassment, demeaned her in front of colleagues, and only hired her to be his executive assistant because he wanted to turn her into his “sexual target.” Raska filed a federal lawsuit against both Murphy and the Pistons last week alleging the organization was complicit in the harassment and abuse she endured at the hands of one its top executives.

Murphy, who was placed on leave two months after being promoted to assistant general manager, has kept silent about the allegations, until now.

More: Accuser in Detroit Pistons scandal breaks silence: Rob Murphy harassed and assaulted me

One week after being sued, Murphy spoke out through his lawyer, alleging “unsubstantiated” allegations are tainting his name.

“My client has maintained his silence and patience since he was put on administrative leave by the Pistons in October 2022,” Potter said in a statement Thursday. “Both my client and I want to express our support for all victims of sexual harassment or any form of workplace misconduct. We stand by everyone’s right to seek justice. However, in light of recent unsubstantiated, publicly stated allegations, I can no longer advise my client to sit quietly and allow his reputation to be unfairly tarnished.”

Potter also shed light on the Pistons’ months-long investigation of Murphy, who was placed on leave for six months and ultimately fired after a former Pistons employee accused him of groping, belittling and sexually assaulting her when she was his executive assistant.

The Pistons did not announce Murphy’s firing until contacted by the Free Press last week, though Murphy’s lawyer said he received an email from the Pistons’ lawyer on Feb. 20 stating that the investigation was complete, and concluded there was no harassment.

The Free Press reached out Thursday to the Pistons, which have provided no comment on the lawsuit or Potter’s statement. Neither has Murphy, whose lawyer says his client disputes the allegations, “fully cooperated” with the investigation, and looks forward to defending his name through the judicial process.

“We believe that any attempts to try this case in the court of public opinion are detrimental for all parties involved, and we will refrain from engaging in the same tactics. Our request is that people withhold judgement about Mr. Murphy and these allegations until which time our case is presented in an appropriate setting,” Potter stated. ” Mr. Murphy exhibits a deep trust in our judicial system and is desirous of having the opportunity to publicly refute the allegations made by Ms. Raska. We will be making no further comments at this time, but we will remain eager for the judicial process to unfold.”

Free Press sports writer Omari Sankofa II contributed to this report. Contact: Tresa Baldas tbaldas@freepress.com

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