DENVER -- Prospective Colorado football players were recruited with sex parties where women say they were raped, and school officials have resisted demands to stop the practice, according to depositions of a prosecutor and a police officer.
Boulder County District Attorney Mary Keenan, a potential witness in a federal lawsuit filed by a woman who says she was raped at a 2001 party attended by football recruits, made the statement during an October deposition, which was obtained by KUSA-TV.
School officials have denied Keenan's accusations.
In her statement, Keenan said she met with athletic department officials after a 17-year-old girl reported she was raped by a football player or a recruit at a party in 1997.
Keenan said she met with university officials again after a woman said she was raped at the 2001 party. Keenan said she didn't believe school officials took her complaints seriously.
Keenan said she was told by a former Colorado athletic department official that athletic director Dick Tharp and football coach Gary Barnett decided against any changes.
"They decided, after discussing the history, that they would not change anything because they could not afford to lose the competitive edge against universities such as Oklahoma [and] Nebraska," Keenan said.
Barnett and Tharp denied the accusations.
"That is absolutely a 100 percent out-and-out lie," Barnett said in Thursday's Denver Post. "I can't fathom why anyone would imply that, say that, or make that up. It is a lie."
In another deposition in the lawsuit, university police officer Timothy Delaria described another 2001 party as "some kind of sex party for the recruits."
Delaria's deposition, made in May 2003, said recruits were shown a pornographic video and told that easy sex was a benefit of playing at Colorado.
Delaria, discussing a transcript of a police interview with a football recruit, said the recruit told officers, "They told us, you know, 'This is what you get when you come to Colorado.' "
Keenan and Delaria gave their depositions as part of a lawsuit filed by [b][SIZE=4]Lisa Simpson[/SIZE][/b], who contended she was sexually assaulted by two men at the 2001 party. Simpson filed her case anonymously but later said she wanted to set an example that victims need not feel ashamed.
Prosecutors filed no sexual assault charges after the party because they said they did not think they could be proved. Four players were charged with providing marijuana and alcohol to minors.
Another woman has filed a lawsuit against the university saying she, too, was sexually assaulted at the party.