Maxcey faces embezzlement, theft charges

Originally Published: August 24, 2004
Associated Press

DENVER -- A six-month grand jury investigation into whether booze and sex were used to entice University of Colorado football recruits ended with an indictment against just one person -- a former low-level school employee accused Tuesday of soliciting a prostitute for himself.

The grand jury declined to charge Nathan Maxcey, who was formerly recruiting assistant, with soliciting sex for anyone else but did accuse him of misusing his university cell phone.

No other criminal charges will come from the grand jury investigation, Attorney General Ken Salazar said.

The indictment, handed up last week and made public Tuesday, accused only Maxcey and made no mention of university officials, students or recruits. The grand jury decided against indicting Maxcey on a felony count of pimping, which had accused him of soliciting prostitutes for others at a dorm room and Boulder-area hotels used by the Colorado football program.

"This appears to be good news for the University of Colorado athletic department," said attorney Craig Silverman, who has followed the investigation. "It appears that this investigation has fizzled out."

Maxcey, 28, did not immediately return a call. A woman who answered the phone at his parents' Texas home said the family would not comment.

The indictment in Denver district court accuses Maxcey of misdemeanor solicitation for prostitution and two felonies: embezzlement of public property and theft, both related to cell phone use.

The misdemeanor charge is punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine up to $750. The embezzlement charge is punishable by one to three years in prison and a fine of $1,000 to $100,000; the theft charge is punishable by two to six years in prison and a fine of $2,000 to $500,000.

Silverman said such cases often end with a plea agreement that does not result in prison but includes some time in a county jail as a term of probation.

He said the decision against accusing Maxcey of pimping indicated the grand jury did not believe he provided prostitutes to football recruits or players.

"You always have to wonder whether these felonies are part of a plan to put pressure on him to flip on somebody higher up the ladder," Silverman said. "It does appear to be sort of a personal lark by an employee. It's not clear that there's any ladder to march up."

The Rocky Mountain News reported Wednesday that three people who testified before the grand jury were granted immunity, including former call girl Pasha Cowan. She has said Maxcey paid her $2,500 for three call girls to visit "very young, very athletic men" at Boulder-area hotels. Maxcey has denied the allegations, saying the calls were only to arrange liaisons for himself.

The charges stem from a scandal that erupted early this year after three women filed federal lawsuits alleging they were raped by football recruits or players who attended an off-campus party in December 2001. The lawsuits are pending.

Since 1997, nine women have made similar allegations. Prosecutors have not filed any sexual assault charges, citing concerns about the evidence and the reluctance of the women to pursue the cases.

CU spokeswoman Michele Ames declined to comment on the indictment but said the university will monitor recruiting under stringent new policies.

"We will continue to be vigilant in ensuring that the reforms we've implemented take root," she said.

Maxcey has 10 days to respond to the indictment.

The embezzlement and theft charges accuse Maxcey of accumulating $1,043 in charges on his CU cell phone in 90 calls to a dating chat line. The calls totaled 5,942 minutes, the indictment said.

About half the calls were made after Maxcey was told by the university that the practice was unacceptable and that he would have to pay for the calls, the indictment said.

The solicitation charge accuses Maxcey of paying Cowan $250 for sex. It did not indicate where the money came from.

The grand jury also looked into questions surrounding spending practices of the university's fund-raising foundation and a private football camp.

Salazar said in a statement that other matters relating to the investigation were still pending, but he did not elaborate.

In Colorado, a grand jury can issue a report on its findings if it declines to issue an indictment on an allegation. Salazar's office has not said whether the panel investigating CU issued such a report.

Gov. Bill Owens appointed Salazar as a special prosecutor in February to look into the recruiting allegations.

An independent investigative panel appointed by CU regents concluded that some football players arranged sex and alcohol for recruits. The panel accused university officials of lax oversight but said they did not condone the practice.

David Tufts, father of former CU linebacker Sean Tufts, said the media had ruined the university by continuing to report on the allegations years later.

"I would think the witch hunt that started four years ago because somebody couldn't prove somebody did something wrong is pretty much over," he said.

Patty Klopfenstein, whose son is a tight end on the team, said: "For the football team, it was over a long time ago. Some people won't let it go."

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press