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Archive for Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Sex scandal costing Colorado

Legal fees already more than $1 million at CU

October 12, 2004

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— The University of Colorado's legal fees in the football recruiting and sex scandal have exceeded $1 million, with a trial still more than seven months away.

According to records obtained by the Daily Camera, school officials have spent $1 million defending the university against alleged rape victim Lisa Simpson's lawsuit that ignited the scandal nearly two years ago.

Simpson and another woman have combined their lawsuits, both claiming that the school fostered a hostile environment toward women that led to their rapes. Both said they were assaulted by football players or recruits at an alcohol-fueled party Dec. 7, 2001.

For Simpson's lawsuit, $925,000 has gone toward attorney fees, according to records. Depositions, court reporting fees and other costs account for the remaining $75,000 tied to the suit, a CU spokeswoman said.

A separate suit filed in January by a former CU soccer player has cost the university $18,000 in legal fees so far, the university said. The woman says she was raped by two football players after attending the same 2001 party. No assault charges have been filed.

Coach Gary Barnett was suspended during the offseason amid allegations the program uses sex and alcohol to lure recruits. He was later reinstated. The university said it has spent $657,824 to fund the independent investigative commission that looked into recruiting practices in the spring. John DiBiaggio, hired to assess CU's athletic department climate, was also paid almost $57,000.

A monthlong trial is set to start May 31. Regent Jim Martin, a law professor at Denver University, said the school should have settled.

"It's not just the legal fees, it's the emotional cost and the risk of reputation," Martin said. "Everybody involved will be reliving a very bad experience over and over for the whole world to see."

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