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March 23, 2004

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) -- North Carolina will pay former soccer player Debbie Keller $70,000 and enroll women's soccer coach Anson Dorrance in sensitivity training as partial settlement of a 1998 sexual harassment lawsuit.

Debbie Keller was one of two former Tar Heels players who filed the $12 million lawsuit in 1998. The lawsuit names Dorrance, three assistant soccer coaches, the university and three administrators.

In the lawsuit, Keller and Melissa Jennings contended Dorrance sexually harassed them by asking questions about their sex lives and the sexual activities of their teammates. Keller further alleged Dorrance made unwanted phone calls and physical contact that amounted to assault and battery.

Keller played at North Carolina from 1993-96 and was national player of the year in '96. Jennings was a reserve from 1996-98.

Keller claimed in the lawsuit that Dorrance interfered with her attempt to win a spot on the 1999 U.S. national team. Keller said she was dropped from the team in retribution for suing and she lost income and recognition when the team won the 1999 World Cup.

The settlement Tuesday calls for Dorrance to sign a letter to Keller that acknowledges he participated in discussions with his players about their sexual activities with men prior to June 1998.

``While my participation in such discussions was in a jesting or teasing nature and was not intended to be offensive, I now realize that my comments offended Debbie Keller,'' the letter states.

Dorrance also apologized to Keller, her family and any offended members of the team.

For the next eight years, Dorrance must attend sensitivity training related to gender coaching, according to the settlement.

Jennings' side of the lawsuit is scheduled to go to trial in U.S. District Court in early October.

Dorrance has built a women's soccer dynasty since taking over at Chapel Hill in 1979. The team has won 18 national championships, including last year. Among the star players to come out of the program is Mia Hamm.

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