BOULDER, Colo. – The former girlfriend of former University of Colorado assistant football coach Joe Tumpkin filed a formal objection in Broomfield Combined Court asking the judge in the case not to accept a plea deal the former coach has reportedly reached with the district attorney’s office.
Tumpkin is expected to appear in court Wednesday for a preliminary hearing on five counts of second-degree assault and three counts of third-degree assault against his ex-girlfriend, who has publicly identified herself as Pamela Fine.
But according to the Boulder Daily Camera, Tumpkin and prosecutors reached a plea deal in which Tumpkin is expected to plead guilty to one misdemeanor count of assault and see the other charges dropped.
Tumpkin resigned from the university a day before he was charged with assaulting Fine. Tumpkin allegedly strangled her and beat her on multiple occasions between 2015 and 2016, according to police documents in the case, whose handling also led to penalties for CU’s then-head coach, chancellor and athletic director. Fine has alleged that the university knew of Tumpkin’s alleged abuse and tried to cover it up, and the university said it could have done more to respond to her accusations in a more timely fashion.
“I don't know what else to do. That's why I'm relying now on the message getting out. I feel like that's the only thing that will shed light on what I believe to be an incredible injustice,” Fine said in an interview with Denver7 Tuesday. “It's not safe. What's going on isn't – I will be fine. I will be fine, regardless.”
Fine first spoke to Sports Illustrated about the alleged abuse and on Monday formally filed the objection to Tumpkin’s supposed plea deal, accusing prosecutors of failing to account for her rights under the Colorado Victim’s Rights Act and of not listening to her pleas to have the preliminary hearing moved so she could attend.
“If the prosecutor truly wanted to comply with the Victim’s Rights Act, he would have engaged in meaningful discussions and consultations with the victim before he offered a plea deal that disregards five felonious assault charges while also disregarding the victim’s strong objections,” Fine wrote in her objection.
She says she told prosecutors she could not attend the hearing on Dec. 12 but instead gave a “multitude” of other dates that she could attend. She writes that prosecutors agreed, but then told her last week that it had not been moved after all.
She also argues that the agreement into which Tumpkin has allegedly entered is unfair under prosecutorial rules.
“The current plea agreement indicates one of two things: Either the prosecutor abused his duty by bringing charges not supported by probable cause or the prosecutor is ignoring evidence sworn in by probable cause affidavits and has offered highly unusual and extremely favorable terms to a locally high-profile defendant who has ties to the Colorado Buffalo [sic] football program and the University of Colorado,” she wrote, adding that attorneys have told her the deal was “unusual.”
She argues that if the judge accepts the plea deal, it would have a “chilling effect” on victims of sexual assault and domestic violence.
“If, in this case, the victim has shown the courage to step forward against her abuse and remain a witness for the prosecution for two years without wavering, yet her abuse is allowed to accept this misdemeanor, which is the lowest level misdemeanor this court can accept, it will undoubtedly send a crippling message to current and future victims of abuse at the University of Colorado,” she argues.
A judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by Fine regarding the case earlier this year, but Fine has given notice to appeal the dismissal, according to federal court records.
“I keep fighting because what about all those girls at CU campus? And what about all the women in Broomfield? And the next woman who walks into that police department?” Fine told Denver7 Tuesday.
Tumpkin’s preliminary hearing is scheduled for 9 a.m. Wednesday in Broomfield Combined Court.
Denver7's Liz Gelardi contributed to this report.