Lawsuit: Ex-CU coach battered ex-girlfriend; investigation was mishandled by administrators, coach

BOULDER, Colo. — Lawyers on behalf of an alleged domestic violence victim filed a federal civil lawsuit on Wednesday against current and former CU Boulder employees over a domestic violence case that involves former football assistant coach Joe Tumpkin.

The suit is the latest development in an ongoing blight on the largest university in Colorado, which began after one of the assistant coach's ex-girlfriends alleged to the football program's Head Coach, Mike MacIntyre, that Tumpkin abused her for years.

MORE | Read the entire civil suit by tapping this link. 

A review of Trumpkin's criminal case is set for Sept. 11 in Broomfield County District Court.

Tumpkin, who resigned not long after prosecutors charged him with five felony counts of second-degree assault and three misdemeanor counts of third-degree assault, is the first person named in the suit. However, it also names head coach MacIntyre, Athletic Director Rick George, Chancellor Philip DiStefano and President Bruce Benson. 

The civil suit makes claims of assault, battery, false imprisonment, and intentional infliction of emotion distress against Tumpkin.

In the suit, Tumpkin's ex-girlfriend also makes claims of negligence and civil conspiracy against MacIntyre, George, DiStefano and Benson.

Lawyers who filed the suit identified for the first time Tumpkin's alleged victim as Pamela Fine.

She made her name public on Wednesday by filing the federal lawsuit when she could have used a pseudonym, saying she decided to go public as a show of strength against intimidation. 

“Tumpkin’s abuse, and the other Defendants’ failures to report, address and stop such activity, is a part of a University pattern of ignoring and, indeed, covering up, abusive behavior by people associated with the University Athletic Department,” her lawsuit says.

Fine is seeking a jury trial in the case, and is asking for compensatory and consequential damages, litigation costs and attorneys’ fees should the jury or judge find in her favor.

"I am no longer protecting the men who silence victims in the name of winning football games," Fine said in a release. "I am now standing up for 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." 

Fine and her lawyers allege the school, by way of mandatory reporters like Coach MacIntyre, knew of domestic violence allegations and took measures to cover it up. 

However, an independent investigation determined the university made mistakes but that there was no intent to cover up or to break the law.

 
In the suit, Fine’s attorneys say, “The University Athletic Program has been under a shadow as a consequence of prior activities by University officials and representatives which, like the activities involving Plaintiff, violated legal and ethical duties and obligations.”
 
The suit says that CU-Boulder “has been plagued by sex-based harassment and assaults being committed and alleged to have been committed by people associated with the Athletic Department, and by acts undertaken by University officials to cover up and otherwise fail to report such events in a manner consistent with their employment obligations, other legal obligations or ethical duties.”
 
The lawsuit details at least five instances of the Athletic Department allegedly mishandling investigations, including one involving current Broncos head coach Vance Joseph.
 
It goes on to detail 10 other instances between 2006 and 2014 that the university allegedly mishandled reports of sexual assault, harassment or discrimination before a Title IX audit of the university was done in 2014.

Vice President for Communication Ken McConnellogue said lawyers at the school are reviewing the lawsuit and will take action.

"The claims in the lawsuit are not well founded factually or legally and we will defend our employees aggressively," McConnellogue said.

 


 

Read all of Pamela Fine's public comments, released by her lawyers, below: 

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 [Tumpkin], 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. 

 

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