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CU football coach, top officials accused of negligence, cover-up in lawsuit

BOULDER, Colo. -- Several top officials at the University of Colorado are targets of a lawsuit.

Pamela Fine is claiming civil conspiracy and negligence against CU president Bruce Benson, football coach Mike MacIntyre, athletic director Rick George and chancellor Phil DiStefano.

Former assistant football coach Joseph Tumpkin is also named in the lawsuit.

Fine alleges her former partner, Tumkin, repeatedly assaulted her over a 21-month period.

She claims she contacted MacIntyre to report the allegations, but the lawsuit says the coach failed to pass along the claims to the university's Title IX coordinator.

Neither did top school officials after learning about the allegations.

"That's really what this case is about, a failure to act," legal analyst Jessica Pieklo said.

Pieklo has been closely following this case. She said Fine only needs to prove negligence by university officials, which is a lower standard of proof.

CU has been under the microscope for similar allegations before, most recently in 2013 when the school was placed under federal investigation for failing to address a series of Title IX claims.

"The university has a long history of mishandling abuse allegations, both within its staff and among those outside, so that won't help," Pieklo said.

CU officials deny the claims being brought by Fine and is vowing to fight back.

"We believe the claims in this lawsuit are not well founded, either factually or legally, and we intend to defend our employees aggressively," spokesman Ken McConnellogue said.

However, the school does admit it made mistakes in following proper procedures after Fine reported the alleged abuse.

"There's a difference in saying we made mistakes in this initially and whether its worthy of monetary remuneration," McConnellogue said.

Fine said the lawsuit was a last resort.

She released a statement on the lawsuit.

"On December 9, 2016 when I reached out to Coach MacIntyre, it was out of fear for Joe, myself, other women, the players, and the community of Boulder because Joe had become very dangerous to himself and others.

I didn't want to publicly hurt Joe, the coaching staff and their wives, and all the Colorado football players who had worked so hard to get to their first bowl game. I wanted to
protect my abuser and the people around him. I finally picked up the phone to tell my truth to a trusted leader whom I believed would help Joe.

Instead, I unintentionally walked into a world that I had read about but did not believe. For that, I apologize to every survivor whom I secretly questioned in my head as I
read their stories of being marginalized and re-victimized by the machine of college athletics.

So, this is no longer about protecting the man who abused me and the powerful men who decided not to do what they were morally, contractually, and legally required to do. I am no longer protecting the men who silence victims in the name of winning football games.

I am now standing up for the young women who sit in my office, where I am a Dean in a large, public high school, every day getting ready to go off to college.

They deserve to be safe. They deserve to be heard. They deserve a different future than the women who came before them. My voice is now for them."