Woman who accused Gesser of sexual harassment speaks out
SPOKANE, Wash. — A former WSU volleyball player is sharing her story after she filed a complaint with the university Monday stating Jason Gesser sexually harassed her in 2015.
“For the last three years it’s been hell,” she said. “But it’s been a silent hell because no one else knows.”
Alyssa Wold-Bodeau said she stayed quiet about the harassment and suppressed the memory for three years because she didn’t want to hurt the Gesser family. She was a nanny for the family from 2013 to 2015.
“I held it in for three years because I thought that it was just me,” Wold-Bodeau said. “I thought he had just hurt me. And I thought I could be strong and hide it deep down and forget about it and protect a family.”
When she saw a flood of reports on Friday, detailing a number of complaints against Gesser — the assistant director for the Cougar Athletic Fund and former standout quarterback — Wold-Bodeau thought they were describing what she said happened to her, but the dates didn’t match up. That’s when she decided to come forward.
“The reason I’m sharing now is because it’s been brought to my attention that this is not the first time and I am not the only one,” Wold-Bodeau said. “I knew it wasn’t talking about me, but it sure sounded familiar. And that’s when I knew I needed to share my story.”
Wold-Bodeau told KXLY4 Gesser never gave her any reason not to trust him while she was a nanny for the family.
“There were no flags that I noticed — nothing, no uncomfortable situations that I felt,” she said.
She got another job and moved away from Pullman in January 2015. About five months later in June, Wold-Bodeau said Gesser asked her to come to a CAF South Social Sound fundraiser in Tumwater. She said she accepted the invitation — she was excited to reconnect with her former teammates and hear about what was next for the Cougs.
After the event, she said she went to get drinks with Gesser, former athletic director Bill Moos and two other coworkers. Wold-Bodeau said Gesser reached out later that night, saying he wanted to meet up.
“Jason had said to me that he wasn’t tired, that he would like to catch up some more — if I could come pick him up,” she said. “In my mind, I thought, chat about the kids, about life.”
Wold-Bodeau said she picked Gesser up at his hotel. She told KXLY4 they were a couple blocks away from her home when he reached over and put his hand on her leg, which she said caught her off guard. When they pulled into the driveway, she said he tried to kiss her.
“When I pulled into the driveway, he leaned over to kiss me, and I pulled away and I just said ‘no’ and he just looked at me,” she said.
Wold-Bodeau went on to say as soon as the two made it inside her house and the door closed behind them, Gesser tried to kiss her again.
“I pulled away and pushed him away and said ‘no’ and he said ‘why not?’ and I said ‘because I said no,'” she said.
She said the two were sitting on her couch when Gesser repeatedly groped her, despite her attempts to push him away.
“He put both hands up my dress onto my butt and I pushed him away and he just proceeded to tell me how much he liked me,” Wold-Bodeau said. “I brought up again – you’re married, you have a family. And he told me, ‘the only reason I’m married is because I have kids.”
Wold-Bodeau said Gesser continued to try to kiss her without her consent.
“I had to put my hand over my mouth, like this, so that he couldn’t kiss my lips. And he began kissing my hand,” she said.
She said she managed to get away and told Gesser to leave.
“Before he went out of the door he said ‘everything’s okay, nothing happened,” she recalled.
That night, she said she curled up in a ball and cried herself to sleep — that she felt powerless and that the attack was somehow her fault. She said the next morning Gesser texted her, making her feel even worse.
“And that text just said, ‘we probably shouldn’t tell my wife that I — that we saw each other,'” Wold-Bodeau. “He knows this is wrong. But why do I feel like it’s my fault?”
She said after three years of burying her pain and suppressing the memory of Gesser’s unwanted advances, she wanted to tell her story to save other women from the private hell she’s been trapped in.
“In 24 hours, I’ve received messages from girls — girls that I knew and girls that I didn’t know — saying thank you, saying how scared they are, but they feel that much less scared to speak, to find their voice,” she said. “And if that’s the only thing that comes from this, then I’ve won.”
She said sharing her story is important and therapeutic.
“I think for the first time I’m starting to feel healing coming,” she said.
She hopes that healing extends to the man she’s accused of harming her three years ago.
“I would tell him that I’m praying for him and I’m praying for his family,” Wold-Bodeau said. “Praying for healing. Praying for healing.”
Gesser announced his resignation from the university Tuesday in a statement. KXLY4 reached out to Wold-Bodeau shortly after and she gave us a statement in response to the news. You can read her statement here.
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