Lawyer: Victim is in possession of letter

Updated: March 2, 2004, 8:55 PM ET
Associated Press

DENVER -- One of the women who says a University of Colorado football player raped her received a letter of apology from him that says "I am so sorry that I have caused you pain," her lawyer said.

The woman's attorney, Allison Lee, released the letter Tuesday. She said in a written statement that her client wanted to protect her privacy and that she and her client would not grant interviews.

The player's letter was first reported in The Denver Post and the Rocky Mountain News.

A recruiting scandal at the university erupted about a month ago, after federal lawsuits were filed by three women alleging they were raped by football players or recruits in 2001. The women say the school failed to rein in its athletes and fostered an environment that contributed to the assaults.

In all, seven women have accused football athletes of sexual assault since 1997, though no charges have been filed. Football coach Gary Barnett has been placed on leave.

The woman whom Lee is representing worked for the school's athletic department when she reported being raped in September 2001. She said the player was visiting her in her apartment; he said the sex was consensual. In the end, she didn't pursue criminal charges. She says it was because of intimidation by Barnett, who allegedly said he would back his player against her claim "100 percent."

District Attorney Mary Keenan, who has testified that she believes Colorado uses sex and alcohol to lure football recruits, said she didn't understand at the time why the woman wouldn't pursue a criminal case.

"Since then, my understanding is that she felt she'd lose her job if she moved forward. And she needed it," Keenan told The Denver Post.

Barnett was placed on paid administrative leave on Feb. 18 by university President Elizabeth Hoffman for remarks attributed to him in this case and for disparaging the athletic ability of former player Katie Hnida after she alleged assault by a football player.

According to a Boulder police report, the woman who worked at the athletic department met on Oct. 1, 2001, with Barnett and two other department officials, Steve Willard and Brian Winkelbauer.

Lee said Barnett promised the player would undergo treatment, and later Willard, who was the woman's boss, asked if a letter of apology from the player would help. She said yes.

Who actually told the player to write the letter remained unclear, but the letter released by Lee offers repeated apologies for the player's unspecified actions.

"I am so sorry for what I have done to you," it says. "I am so sorry that I have caused you pain. I would have never thought, not in a million years, that I would hurt someone like this. ... This is not who I am."

The letter ends with, "P.S. I am so sorry!!!"

Barnett has said he could not comment on the letter because of privacy issues.

According to Boulder police reports, the woman was told during the meeting with school officials that Barnett would support his player.

"She was also told that he would back his player 100 percent if she took this forward in the criminal process," Boulder detective Katie McEldowney wrote in a report dated Oct. 15, 2001.

The night Barnett was placed on leave he told reporters there were "inaccuracies in the police report" but he didn't elaborate.

The case eventually was closed Jan. 15, 2002, when the woman repeated to police she did not want to press charges.


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press

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