CU basketball faces sexual harassment charges

BOULDER, Colo. -- University of Colorado officials are
investigating an allegation of sexual harassment involving a former
employee of the men's basketball program, the school confirmed

University officials did not release details, but said the
investigation, which began in March, includes an inquiry into
whether there also was a failure to report it.

Athletic director Mike Bohn told The Associated Press he could
not comment. The investigation was being handled by the school's
Office of Discrimination and Harassment, which said it was also
investigating a racial harassment allegation.

The school didn't release details of the racial allegation, but
Calvin Williams, who is transferring to another school, told the
Daily Camera that coach Ricardo Patton once tried to motivate his
team by implying that darker-skinned players were tougher.

"Back in his day light-skinned players were considered soft,"
Williams, who is black, told the Camera. "It didn't need to be
said really. I think it was just his way of motivating guys."

Patton said he was addressing senior forward Chris Copeland at
the time and there was nothing inappropriate about his remarks.

"What actually happened was two black men -- an older black man
and a younger black man -- talking about our history.

"I simply said that years ago that was what was perceived --
that dark-skinned blacks were tougher than light-skinned blacks. I
was simply talking to him about history, and I will never apologize
for trying to educate my players," he told the Camera.

Patton did not immediately reply to an e-mail request for
comment sent after hours by The Associated Press.

The men's basketball program is the second major sport at the
school to be slapped with allegations involving players or staff. A
federal lawsuit filed by two women who claimed they were sexually
assaulted at an off-campus party in 2001 opened an investigation
into the school's football program that erupted into a football
recruiting scandal that led to the resignations of several CU
officials over allegations that the football program used sex and
alcohol to entice top recruits.

Since early 2002, the school has seen the resignations of
President Betsy Hoffman, Boulder campus Chancellor Richard Byyny,
athletic director Dick Tharp and football coach Gary Barnett.

A grand jury investigation resulted in only one indictment in
which a former football recruiting aide pleaded guilty to charges
of soliciting a prostitute and official misconduct.

A separate investigation backed by the CU Board of Regents
concluded that drugs, alcohol and sex were used to lure blue-chip
recruits to Boulder but said none of the activity was knowingly
sanctioned by university officials.

The school responded by overhauling oversight of the athletics
department and putting some of the most stringent policies in place
for any football recruiting program.

The Daily Camera of Boulder first reported the basketball
program allegation Wednesday.