It was not designated confidential until Wednesday

Updated: February 27, 2004, 2:58 AM ET
Associated Press

DENVER -- A woman at the heart of a lawsuit against the University of Colorado over the sex-for-football recruits scandal decried the release of her videotaped deposition to television stations.

But university lawyers said Lisa Simpson's attorney failed to designate the videotapes as confidential under a protective order in court.

A Denver television station and ESPN filed requests for the tapes under the Colorado Open Records Act.

The tapes were first aired Tuesday night.

Simpson, who claims she was raped during or after an off-campus party for football recruits in December 2001, said release of the tapes is an example of CU using the "punish-the-women" defense.

"CU did have a choice in this matter," Lisa Simon, a spokeswoman for Simpson, said Wednesday. "They could have chosen to act in good faith by notifying us that the videotapes had been requested. At that point, we would have had the opportunity to respond and designate the videotapes as confidential, placing them under the protective order."

Simon said the university went through the notification process when Simpson's written deposition was released.

In May, the university asked the court to designate materials produced in discovery as confidential to protect the privacy of students and former students.

University officials said Simpson's lawyers did not designate the tapes as confidential until Wednesday morning.

"Therefore, until this morning, the university was required by law to release the tapes," said a statement from university lawyers.

The university requested the tapes no longer be aired and be returned.

Simpson's lawyer released several depositions earlier this month, and university officials distributed more to present other sides.

The documents included testimony from Boulder District Attorney Mary Keenan, who said she believes CU uses sex and parties to entice football recruits.

Gov. Bill Owens expressed outrage and called for an independent investigation into the school's policies.

CU President Elizabeth Hoffman created a special seven-person panel to review the scandal.

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

Simpson reluctantly agreed to make her name public after a Boulder newspaper identified her. She also testified before the state Legislature about the scandal.

But Simpson claims she has been unfairly treated by the university. Lawyers for CU required Simpson's deposition be videotaped, while no other testimony was taped. The university also unsuccessfully attempted to keep Simpson's mother from attending the deposition for moral support.

In addition, the university has unsuccessfully tried to expose her personal diary and unrelated medical history.

"Lisa Simpson came forward to try and help other women," said a statement from Simon. "All CU has done is to try and keep other women from coming forward."

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press