Court document says investigators believed student's rape claim

Updated: October 28, 2003, 11:18 AM ET

BOULDER, Colo. -- Prosecutors decided not to charge University of Colorado football recruits for an alleged gang rape at an off-campus party because they were led to believe the party's purpose was to have sex.

Boulder County District Attorney Mary Keenan said criminal convictions would have been impossible because the recruits were told there would be consensual sex at the party in December 2001.

"The recruits had third-party consent that had nothing to do with (the alleged victim)," Keenan said in a deposition in a civil lawsuit filed against the university by the alleged victim.

"They had been built up by the players to believe that the situation they were going into was specifically to provide them with sex," Keenan said in the deposition, which was referenced by a Monday court filing in the case. "Their mind-set coming into it was that it was consensual because they had been told it had been set up for that very purpose, and that's what was going to happen."

The woman, now 21, filed the civil lawsuit alleging CU's football program fosters an environment in which women routinely suffer sexual harassment. She is seeking unspecified damages from the university and wants a judge to order CU to institute a "zero-tolerance" sexual harassment policy.

The woman says she was assaulted but prosecutors didn't file charges over the assault allegations. Four athletes were later charged with supplying drugs or alcohol to minors.

The filing notes Keenan had a meeting in 1997 with athletics and administration officials about another sexual assault alleged to have happened at a recruiting party, so the school had had notice that such problems were occurring.

Athletic department and school officials declined comment.

"This suit is now in the discovery phase of the legal process and we will present the CU case at the appropriate time," CU spokeswoman Pauline Hale said.

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index