Recent civil lawsuit causes reexamination

DENVER -- Boulder County District Attorney Mary Keenan is
re-examining allegations stemming from a 2001 party for University
of Colorado football recruits where a woman claims she was raped.

Keenan, who initially decided not to file sexual assault
charges, said Thursday that three investigators will look into
items revealed by a lawsuit filed in connection to a sexual

Keenan didn't elaborate further in a short statement released by
the county. She didn't return a call from The Associated Press
Thursday night.

Three women are suing the university, claiming they were raped
during or after an off-campus party for football recruits in
December 2001. A deposition taken in a lawsuit by Lisa Simpson and
released Thursday quotes a former CU athletic official as saying
that football coach Gary Barnett was concerned that not taking
recruits to parties would put the school's football program at a
competitive disadvantage.

Bob Chichester, a former senior associate athletic director,
said that he had numerous discussions with Barnett about the
school's recruiting techniques following the December 2001 party.

Barnett, according to Chichester's deposition, said that social
parties for recruits occur at universities across the country.

"If (players) weren't taking (recruits) out and partying, that
it would be a recruiting disadvantage," Chichester said. "And if
alcohol happened to be there, Coach Barnett never really voiced an
opinion to me that that was objectionable."

Simpson's lawyer released several depositions last week, and
university officials distributed more this week to present other

The documents included testimony from Keenan, who said she
believes CU uses sex and parties to entice football recruits. Gov.
Bill Owens last week expressed outrage and called for an
independent investigation into the school's policies.

CU President Elizabeth Hoffman called a special board of
regents' meeting for Friday to discuss the scandal.

The lawsuits accuse the university of violating federal gender
equity rules by fostering a hostile environment.

Barnett and athletic director Dick Tharp have angrily denied the
allegations. Barnett said he imposes a strict curfew for recruits
and makes hosts promise not to expose them to questionable

In his deposition, however, Chichester said Barnett indicated he
didn't know what happened during recruiting visits and that the
coach could have taken a stronger lead in discouraging such

"I felt if the head coach doesn't know what's going on with
recruiting activities, he has a responsibility to know generally
what's going on and to set the tone and the climate, and I didn't
get a sense that Coach Barnett was committed to that," Chichester

In her deposition, also released Thursday, Simpson said she was
intoxicated and remembered only fragments of what went on at the
party. She said she fell asleep on her bed, then remembers being
surrounded by unclothed men and recognizing only one. At least two
groped and sexually assaulted her, she said.

"I remember trying to get away and I crawled toward the back of
the bed, and I just remember being surrounded and being scared, and
I was just petrified," she said in the deposition.

A football player who attended the party, however, said in his
deposition that Simpson handed out condoms, never went to sleep and
seemed to be an active participant in certain sexual activity.

The player, whose name was blacked out in court documents, said
had he thought Simpson was being raped by the partygoers, "I would
have pulled them off," he said. "I feel extremely strongly about

The player, who said he lost his scholarship after the party,
expressed shock at the allegations. He said recruits "very, very
rarely" had sex during campus visits.

Four football players who attended the party had their
scholarships revoked in 2002.

Simpson reported she was raped soon after the party. Keenan
decided against criminal sexual assault charges, citing the
difficulty of prosecuting date rape allegations. Four players were
charged with providing alcohol or marijuana to minors.