Years-old sex tape debate needs to end

When former University gymnastics coach Katalin Deli sued the University six years ago, her actions rolled out the carpet for many more walks to the courthouse. Lawsuits and appeals followed after school officials watched a videotape of Deli and her husband having sex and fired the couple. The court decisions repeatedly dismissed Deli’s claims until last March, when a jury granted her a monetary reward. But when the Minnesota Court of Appeals decided to overturn Deli’s win May 19, a predictable pattern followed. Deli hinted at appealing the decision before the state Supreme Court. At this point it’s a lose-lose situation if more appeals are made.
The scandal that ensued after University officials fired the Delis as gymnastics coaches has been one of exhaustive bickering. The 1992 dismissal of Deli and her husband, Gabor, came shortly after athletes accidentally saw a videotape of the couple having sex. The act was taped using University equipment, and it followed footage of a gymnastics meet. After an investigation, University officials cited mishandling of tapes as part of their reason for dismissing the Delis. Separate from the videotape incident, University officials said contract and policy violations as well as dishonesty and subordination also led to the firings. Deli sued the University that same year, saying she only turned over the tape to Chris Voelz, the women’s athletic director, because she promised not to view the videotape. Voelz and the University maintain that such a promise was never made.
Deli also claimed that she underwent emotional distress because the tape was seen by numerous people. That, in addition to the Delis’ dismissal, was the argument for monetary compensation. University officials admit tough decisions were made to investigate the allegations of misconduct. The courts have predominantly supported the University’s actions in more than 40 different claims the Delis brought against the University. With the courts consistently upholding the University’s actions, it was surprising when a jury awarded the Delis $675,000 in March. This particular jury concluded that Voelz broke her promise not to show the videotape. The award came almost four years after the Delis filed for chapter 13 bankruptcy. At the time, they owed creditors $90,000.
The most recent court decision, partly based on the lack of testimony that Deli underwent emotional distress, takes away the money Deli expected to get. This comes during a time when she is getting out of bankruptcy and trying to keep a gymnastics academy business in Plymouth, which the Delis own and operate. Given their financial constraints, the Delis should concentrate on gaining money rather than spending it. The verdicts of the Delis’ numerous appeals and lawsuits show that a higher court will likely dismiss another appeal.
The Delis are not the only ones who will lose more if another appeal is made. It will also cost the University more money in a case they’ve already spent thousands of dollars on defending. This ultimately puts the attorney fee bills on taxpayers. Maybe only a few will only know the truth behind the controversial sex-tape story. Even if Deli is right in her allegations, she should stop this costly struggle she has no chance of winning.