University cell phone used to call escorts

Updated: February 16, 2004, 1:59 PM ET
Associated Press

DENVER -- In another blow at a school reeling from scandal, the University of Colorado said Friday that calls were placed to an escort service from a cellular telephone once assigned to a football recruiting assistant.

The school, which is investigating whether its football program used sex and alcohol to entice recruits, said the calls were made on a phone assigned to Nathan Maxcey, who worked in the program from June 2002 to July 2003.

Response released by university president and chancellor
Statement issued by University of Colorado President Elizabeth Hoffman and Boulder campus Chancellor Richard Byyny:

Today the University of Colorado turned over information from an ongoing internal audit to the Broomfield Police Department, which is investigating an escort service. We initiated the internal audit immediately upon learning of the escort service allegations.

The University of Colorado has identified evidence that telephone calls were made from a cell phone assigned to former athletics employee Nathan Maxcey ... to an escort service and to a singles chat line.

We have no information at this time that implicates other individuals.

The University is continuing its internal investigation. If we learn of additional relevant evidence, we will turn it over to the Broomfield Police Department in full cooperation with the police investigation.

Maxcey was an administrative assistant in the CU football recruiting program from June 9, 2002 to July 16, 2003.

As we have stated repeatedly, we remain steadfast in our commitment to investigate these allegations. We will take swift, decisive and appropriate action upon the receipt of credible information.

We are committed to preserving high ethical standards for the University of Colorado.

-- The Associated Press

There is no evidence suggesting the calls were made for recruits or Colorado athletes, university spokeswoman Pauline Hale said. But she said the investigation was ongoing and that details uncovered so far had been turned over to police.

"It would be an inappropriate use of a university cell phone," Hale said.

Maxcey told KCNC-TV of Denver the calls had "nothing to do with the coaching staff, recruits or school funds."

"It was for my own private use in the privacy of my own apartment," he told KUSA-TV of Denver. He told the station that accusations linking the escort service to CU coaches or recruits were "a blatant lie."

Maxcey was employed at the University of Utah until recently, officials there said. His did not return a message left for him at the school by The Associated Press.

Police in Broomfield, near the Boulder campus, are investigating whether there is a link between the Colorado athletics department and an escort service. Police did not return a call seeking comment.

The university was plunged into scandal two weeks ago when Boulder County District Attorney Mary Keenan accused the state's flagship school of using alcohol-fueled sex parties to land top football recruits. The claim came in one of three federal lawsuits filed by women who say they were raped by athletes at or just after an off-campus recruiting party in 2001.

Keenan has since reopened a criminal investigation that was suspended without assault charges years ago. The governor has warned the school to shape up and the school is assembling an independent commission to investigate. The scandal also helped prompt the NCAA to form a task force to investigate recruiting practices nationwide.

University officials have denied the claims, but there has been a string of embarrassing accusations. A Denver businessman said athletes from Colorado and schools in other states have hired his strippers for years, calling it a tradition akin to a bachelor party.

The escort service claim surfaced a week ago. At the time, football operations director David Hansburg said a woman had raised the allegation in a telephone call to him in which she also asked for help getting a job.

"As we have stated repeatedly, we remain steadfast in our commitment to investigate these allegations," university President Elizabeth Hoffman and Chancellor Richard Byyny said in a statement. "We will take swift, decisive and appropriate action upon the receipt of credible information."

Regina Cowles, president of Boulder chapter of the National Organization of Women, said the escort service calls were not surprising.

"It is more of the same from the university and the athletic department," she said. "They need to start taking responsibility and admitting they have a problem."

The Board of Regents will meet Monday to choose the rest of the commission that will investigate the scandal.

"We need to quickly resolve not only this new allegation but other things that are out there," Regent Jim Martin said.

In another development, Boulder County officials said they are checking to see whether more than a dozen Colorado athletes improperly performed community service by lifting weights.

Among the players are four football players who pleaded guilty to providing alcohol to a minor at the 2001 party. Each was ordered to perform 36 hours of community service.

The review was sparked by a deposition former assistant coach E.J. "Doc" Kreis gave in which he talked about a community service outreach program he ran.

Kreis said players could demonstrate, coach, teach or instruct weight training and that he would sign letters saying the athletes had performed community service.

"It made us curious as to whether the hours were actually performed, so we opened a review of the cases," said Joe Thome, Boulder County's community justice services division manager.

The review should be complete in about a week, Thome said.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press