Former athletic official has been queried twice

Updated: February 26, 2005, 12:20 AM ET
Associated Press

DENVER -- Lawyers for the University of Colorado asked a federal judge Friday to prohibit a woman suing the school from taking a third deposition from a former athletic official.

Attorneys for former CU student Lisa Simpson have already interviewed Robert Chichester, a former senior athletic director for about nine hours on two separate occasions. Another deposition would "constitute annoyance and an undue burden to Chichester," according to documents filed by the university in U.S. District Court.

The lawsuit filed by Simpson, who alleges she was sexually assaulted by football players or recruits during an off-campus party in December 2001, helped spark the football recruiting scandal last year.

Simpson's attorney, Baine Kerr, declined to comment Friday on the university's filing.

In an earlier deposition, Chichester said he had numerous discussions with head football coach Gary Barnett about the school's recruiting techniques following the 2001 party.

According to Chichester's deposition, Barnett said social parties for recruits occur at universities across the country.

"If [players] weren't taking [recruits] out and partying, then it would be a recruiting disadvantage," Chichester testified. "And if alcohol happened to be there, Coach Barnett never really voiced an opinion to me that that was objectionable."

Chichester said Barnett indicated he didn't know what happened during recruiting visits. Chichester said he thought the coach could have taken a stronger lead in discouraging such activities, according to the deposition released in February 2004.

Barnett has said he imposes a strict curfew for recruits and makes host players promise not to expose recruits to questionable behavior.

Simpson's lawsuit accuses the university of allowing its athletics department to harbor an environment in which women were routinely sexually harassed, which violated federal law that protects equal access to education for men and women.

Another woman who claims she also was sexually assaulted during the December 2001 party filed a similar lawsuit against the school. The two lawsuits have been combined into one case and a trial is set for May 31.

It is the policy of The Associated Press not to publish the names of alleged sexual assault victims. Simpson has agreed to have her name used in media reports. The other woman has asked that her name be withheld.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press