Detective 'frustrated' with athletes' behavior

Updated: July 17, 2004, 12:41 PM ET
Associated Press

BOULDER, Colo. -- Athletes were treated more leniently than other students for rules violations, a veteran University of Colorado police detective said in a deposition taken in the school's sex assault scandal.

Tim Delaria, a 30-year employee of the university police department, also testified that athletic officials intervened on behalf of athletes in at least one case.

"It appears to me, in the cases that I've been involved with, that student athletes are not held to the same standards as regular students," Delaria said.

His deposition, released Friday, was given June 22 in a lawsuit filed by a woman who alleges the university fostered an environment of sexual harassment that ultimately led to her being raped at an off-campus party for football players and recruits in 2001.

An independent commission was appointed to investigate the scandal after Boulder District Attorney Mary Keenan claimed in a deposition released in January that the athletic department uses alcohol and sex to lure football recruits.

The commission's work was separate from an internal university investigation and a state grand jury that is looking into allegations about the program.

Delaria said in his deposition that during a meeting about two years ago, football coach Gary Barnett or David Hansburg, football operations director, said there was no need to arrest a football player for roughing up a parking lot attendant.

"You guys don't have to arrest him. You can just come and get us, and we'll take care of it," Delaria said he was told.

He said he couldn't recall whether Barnett or Hansburg made the offer, but he was told the unnamed athlete would be made to run laps and possibly be suspended from games.

Delaria was asked if some football players think they have immunity from judicial affairs. "To be honest with you, I think it's the whole athletic department," he said.

Delaria said Lisa Simpson, one of three women who allege they were assaulted during or after the party in December 2001, told him she wanted changes made so this could not happen to someone else.

"I just think that it's an embarrassment to the university that all of this has transpired," he said. "And I'm not saying that the university is liable for what happened to Lisa, but the university needs some controls."

He said he would be fired for a major rules violation.

"You know, isn't there some kind of expectation about behavior from, from the university on students? Are football players employees? I don't know. These are all legal questions, but I just -- I'm just frustrated with the whole thing."

Hansburg, contacted Friday, disputed Delaria's version of the parking lot incident, denying there was pressure on the department.

Barnett was out of town and unavailable for comment.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press