Scandal could bring criminal indictments

8/19/2004 - Colorado Buffaloes

DENVER -- A state grand jury wrapped up its investigation
into the sex-and-alcohol recruiting scandal at the University of
Colorado on Thursday. There was no immediate word on whether it had
handed up any criminal indictments.

The jurors, who began meeting in May, filed out of the courtroom
without comment. Many were smiling, and one kissed a bailiff on the

Assistant Attorney General Brian Whitney said the grand jury had
been dismissed and refused to say whether criminal charges will be

Attorney General Ken Salazar, a U.S. Senate candidate, met
briefly with the panel about 3 hours before it was dismissed. He
declined to say what action the jurors would take.

Grand jurors stopped hearing from witnesses at about 10 a.m.,
when Broomfield police detective Bruce Fitzgerald left the jury
room. Broomfield is the site of a hotel where an escort service
manager has said former recruiting aide Nathan Maxcey arranged sex
for young men.

Salazar's spokesman, Ken Lane, said he could not comment on
pending investigations.

"When we have something to report, we will," he said.

It was unclear how long jurors deliberated because such
proceedings are secret.

"That's the hallmark of a grand jury," said Craig Silverman, a
former Denver prosecutor who now is a legal analyst and defense
attorney. "We may never know what they did or if they even voted
to indict."

Salazar was asked to lead the investigation by Gov. Bill Owens
amid allegations that the football program used sex, strippers and
alcohol to recruit promising athletes.

Maxcey, who has denied hiring call girls for recruits and who
appeared before the grand jury in June, said he wasn't surprised
the grand jury wrapped up its work with no indictments issued.

"The story doesn't change," he said in a phone interview from
his parent's Dallas-area home. "I know what I did and didn't do. I
didn't do those things, and we'll just leave it at that."

Nine women have said they were raped by Colorado football
players or recruits since 1997, and three have filed federal
lawsuits against the university. Prosecutors have not filed any
sexual assault charges, citing concerns about the evidence and the
reluctance of the women to pursue the cases.

An independent commission concluded that some football players
provided sex and alcohol to recruits. The commission said
university officials did not condone the practice but accused them
of lax oversight.

Football recruits often stayed at the Broomfield hotel while
visiting the campus in nearby Boulder.

Fitzgerald spent about an hour before the grand jury and
declined to comment when he left. He also appeared before the panel
in July.

The University of Colorado Foundation, which raises money for
the university, has said the grand jury also is looking into
foundation spending practices and into a private football camp run
by head football coach Gary Barnett.

Legal experts have said they think Salazar's investigators were
trying to determine whether university funds were misused.
Salazar's office has declined to comment on any specifics.

The foundation and Barnett have said they did nothing wrong.