CU Boulder: Tumpkin abuse case victim 'should have received immediate response from the university'

DENVER – The Chancellor of the University of Colorado responded Friday evening to a Sports Illustrated article which claimed the school may have known about allegations former assistant football coach Joe Tumpkin had abused his ex-girlfriend a month before any actions were taken. 

In the statement, Chancellor Philip P. DiStefano apologizes to the victim in the case and to her son, writing, "She should have received an immediate response from the university pertaining to the actions we might take as well as expressing concern for her safety and any support she needed to deal with repercussions of the trauma she suffered."

DiStefano said school staff provided Sports Illustrated with a full timeline of what happened, but alleges the sports magazine chose not to publish "key elements" of the events.

The reporter who wrote the story, Michael McKnight, claims to have talked to the woman, who is given the name “Jane” in the report to protect her identity.

It says head coach Mike MacIntyre and his wife both had received messages from the woman in early December. The report says she first reached out to MacIntyre’s wife, Trisha, and wrote that she had “an important issue regarding Joe that is sensitive and confidential” and that she needed to talk to Coach MacIntyre.

DiStefano refutes the claim, saying Tumpkin's ex-girlfriend notified MacIntyre of the alleged assault in mid-December. After being notified, MacIntyre immediately told athletic director Rick George about the allegations.

The woman had also, according to the report, emailed Coach MacIntyre two days earlier, saying she had a “very confidential concern” about Tumpkin.

The report says that phone records back up claims that MacIntyre called the woman right after his wife had received her message, and told him that Tumpkin had “repeatedly and violently abused her” during the last two years of their three-year relationship.

The report says the call lasted for 34 minutes and said the most-recent abuse had happened in mid-November, when the Buffs played Washington State at home. The report says she ended her relationship with Tumpkin afterward.

The SI report says that MacIntyre told her she was “very courageous” to call and expressed concern over the alleged abuse.

The woman said MacIntyre told her he had talked to athletic director Rick George briefly about the allegations and that they would decide what to do. But she told SI she never heard from the athletic department again.

"At that time, we believed that it was premature to take personnel action because there was no restraining order, criminal charges, civil action or other documentation of the allegation," DiStefano said in the statement.

He adds, "we regret that as soon as each of us knew of the allegations of domestic violence, written evidence or not, we did not report them to our office of Institutional Equity and Compliance." 

Tumpkin, usually a safeties coach on the team, coached the defense during the Buffs’ bowl game on Dec. 29 after the team’s defensive coordinator left.

On Jan. 6, the Boulder Daily Camera broke the story that the woman had been granted a restraining order against Tumpkin in December. Four days later, he was suspended indefinitely after police officially opened an investigation into the alleged abuse.

On Jan. 25, a Boulder County judge granted a permanent protection order against Tumpkin, prohibiting him from ever contacting his ex-girlfriend. 

Tumpkin submitted his resignation, which was requested by the university, on Jan. 27. It became effective Jan. 31. He is set to receive just under $80,000 as a final payout, which includes a bonus for the team’s bowl game.

DiStefano also refutes the claim that Tumpkin received a promotion to interim defensive coordinator ahead of the Alamo Bowl.

"Tumpkin was not promoted nor did he receive any adjustment in salary or title."

On the day his resignation became effective, Tumpkin was charged with five counts of felony second-degree assault and three counts of misdemeanor third-degree assault.

Denver7 has reached out to CU officials for comment, but those requests have yet to be returned. A spokesman told SI, however, that the university – including MacIntyre and George -- was not aware of any allegations until the Daily Camera informed them of the restraining order.

Tumpkin posted $10,000 bond on Thursday in Bromfield County Court, according to records.  

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