Former CU assistant coach accused of assault offered misdemeanor plea deal

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BOULDER, Colo. -- 2016 was a time of excitement for University of Colorado football fans. The Buffaloes finished the regular season 8-1 in conference play and won their first ever Pac-12 South Division title.

However, behind the scenes, the program was mired in controversy.

A woman named Pam Fine had come forward to report she had been choked hundreds of times by her then boyfriend, former Assistant Football Coach Joe Tumpkin. However, nothing happened for weeks.

Tumpkin was only arrested after the season ended. He was charged with five felony counts of assault.

"I was afraid for my life. I was strangled many times and thrown against walls. I never lost consciousness. There were times I wasn't able to breathe," said Fine, who is now publicly sharing her story for the first time.

Fine says she has spent the past two years trying to overcome the trauma she endured.

"I've come a long way. I'm a lot different than I was a few years ago," she said.

However, she worries she will never see justice.

Tumpkin is expected to plead guilty on Wednesday to one misdemeanor charge of third-degree assault as part of a plea deal and will avoid jail time.

"It's just really telling me and other victims it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter he beat me for two years," said Fine.

Tumpkin is currently working as a personal trainer at Prestige Fitness in Arvada. His biography on the company's website makes no mention of his coaching days at the university, and Fine fears what happened to her could happen again.

"That's all that's important to me, the safety of other people, the women he will come into contact with. I know he's going to try and coach again and I don't think he should work with children. He's a very violent man," said Fine.

Tumpkin was forced to resign from CU. Fine's allegations also prompted an investigation into the university's handling of the case. Head Football Coach Mike MacIntyre and Athletic Director Rick George were both ordered to make a $100,000 contribution to a domestic violence support organization.

CU Chancellor Phil DiStefano also received a 10-day suspension.

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