Hnida: 'It's been five years, and it's still terrifying'

Updated: January 10, 2005, 2:42 PM ET
Associated Press

DENVER -- A former Colorado kicker who says she was raped by a teammate and terrified of telling her coach about it said sexual harassment started the day she joined the team.

Katie Hnida said she is still haunted by what she went through.

"It's been five years, and it's still terrifying. It's still something that I wake up with and I deal with," Hnida said in an interview aired Monday on NBC's "Today."

At least nine women including Hnida have said they were assaulted by Colorado football players or recruits since 1997. No criminal charges have been filed, though Hnida said she is part of an investigation by the state attorney general and Boulder police.

"The investigation is very far from over," said Hnida, who first told her story of rape and mistreatment to Sports Illustrated last February.

The university issued a statement Monday saying it has asked Hnida to provide information about the alleged attack so action can be taken.

"Regretfully, she has chosen not to respond to these calls, but we understand that is her personal decision," the school said. "We admire Katie's strength and perseverance in pursuing her dream of playing college football, and we wish her the very best in her future endeavors."

Hnida joined Colorado in 1999 as a walk-on but never got into a game. She transferred to New Mexico in 2002 and the next year became the first woman to score in a Division I-A football game, kicking two extra points in a 72-8 win over Texas State-San Marcos.

Colorado coach Gary Barnett was suspended for three months in part for comments he made after Hnida's story was revealed. He called her an "awful" player and said "not only was she a girl, she was terrible. There's no other way to say it."

Hnida said her mistreatment began on the first day of practice when, on her way to the locker room, she was "surrounded by five men who were much bigger than I was asking me sexual questions."

The problems continued throughout the season, she told "Today."

"We would be in the huddle and guys would rub up against me," she said "There were a few times when I would be alone in the hallways and guys would constantly be asking me if we could hang out as more than teammates and would literally ask me for oral sex."

She said she was assaulted by a player at his home, where they had gone to watch a game, but decided against telling the police or her parents and felt complaining to Barnett was not an option.

"The last thing I wanted to do was to go to a man who was unfriendly to me," she said.

The school has made sweeping changes to its athletics program and football recruiting since the scandal broke.


Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press

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