Monday, March 22, 2004
CU says it's 'determined to find the facts'
DENVER -- The woman whose lawsuit sparked the University of
Colorado recruiting scandal leveled new accusations Monday, saying
prostitutes were hired for recruits nearly a decade ago and the
athletic department shrugged off allegations of assault by players
and staff with slaps on the wrist.
The accusations are part of a motion to amend Lisa Simpson's
original lawsuit and incorporate facts that have emerged from 26
depositions and hundreds of pages of documents that have become
available since, including the claim by former CU place-kicker
Katie Hnida that she was raped by a teammate.
In the court filing, Simpson says that prostitutes were sent to
recruits' hotel rooms as far back as 1995, two years before an
incident that induced a meeting between university officials and
the Boulder County district attorney. It was in that early 1998
meeting that then-assistant district attorney Mary Keenan says she
put the school "on notice" that it had a problem with its
Lisa Simon, a spokeswoman for Simpson, said the allegation from
1995 is something Simpson's lawyers plan to prove in court, but is
not established through depositions or other materials that have
already been released to the public.
The university would not comment on any specific allegation, but
released a statement touting the steps it has already taken to
address the scandal.
"As we have said several times over the last few weeks, we are
determined to find the facts," university spokeswoman Michele Ames
said in a written statement. She also pointed to several steps the
school has taken to uncover those facts, like the independent panel
charged with investigating the allegations.
The motion also says that an assistant coach was hired in 1999,
and remains on the coaching staff, despite having pleaded guilty to
third-degree assault for domestic battery.
Head coach Gary Barnett hired another assistant in March 2001
who, as a former player and student, was banned from campus for a
series of incidents and arrests that included an assault of a
female parking lot attendant. The motion alleges that assistant
coach was arrested for driving while intoxicated, but only received
a loss of pay as punishment from the football program.
Neither coach is identified in the motion.
"Since at least 1995, CU has had actual knowledge of and has
been deliberately indifferent to known sexual harassment, sexual
assaults and sexual discrimination against female students and
other women caused by the practices of CU's Athletic Department and
football program," Simpson's lawsuit reads.
All of this comes in a federal lawsuit Simpson has filed
alleging the university violated Title IX protections by fostering
an environment hostile to women. She says she was raped by several
players and recruits at a party at her off-campus apartment in
Along with the committee established by the Board of Regents,
Gov. Bill Owens has appointed state Attorney General Ken Salazar as
a special prosecutor to investigate the seven sexual assault
complaints leveled against CU football players since 1997.
Barnett has also been placed on paid administrative leave.
The Board of Regents' committee is scheduled to meet Tuesday to
continue its investigation. The meeting will include a presentation
by sexual assault victims' advocates as well as by university
The commission hopes to present its findings and recommendations
by April 30.