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12/14/2004

Woman drops CU assault suit

By Bruce Plasket
The Daily Times-Call

DENVER — A former University of Colorado soccer player on Monday dropped a lawsuit claiming she was raped by a CU football player three years ago.

Monique Gillaspie, a California native and a member of the CU women’s soccer team in 2001, had claimed she was raped by a football player after attending the now-infamous Dec. 7, 2001, party at which two other women said they were raped by CU football players or recruits.

“She came to us on Friday and said she would be willing to dismiss her claim with no strings attached,” said Denver attorney Thomas Rice, who represented CU women’s soccer coach Bill Hempen and former athletic director Dick Tharp in the case. Calling the lawsuit groundless, Rice said, “We investigated everything she said, and it was false.”

Gillaspie attorney David Feola could not be reached for comment, but in a written statement said the voluntary dismissal of the lawsuit “should not be interpreted as a retraction.”

The statement quoted Gillaspie’s parents, Ronald and Susan Gillaspie, as saying, “CU has done enough to our daughter.”

Gillaspie decided to drop the lawsuit “with great reluctance,” the statement said. She decried the legal tactics of CU’s legal team and the rigors of a lawsuit, which she described as “exceedingly invasive.”

Gillaspie, 21, had been scheduled to be deposed Monday, and her parents were scheduled to be deposed today and Wednesday.

The release said Gillaspie fully supports Lisa Simpson and Anne Gilmore, the two other women who filed lawsuits claiming they were raped at the Dec. 7, 2001, party, and said she plans to testify for them when their case comes to trial at the end of May.

Gillaspie’s release also said she believes “CU may have gotten part of the message” about protecting its students, regardless of gender or race.

The university did not settle the case, Rice said.

“I want people to know we gave them nothing,” Rice said. “I don’t want people to think there was some silent consideration given to settle the case. They came to us and said they wanted to dismiss the suit.”

Gillaspie’s lawsuit, filed in January, claimed she was mistreated from the time she arrived at CU in the summer of 2001 because she is African-American. She claimed she was required to find and pay for her own lodging for two weeks before the start of the school year, and said white team members directed racial slurs toward her.

The lawsuit claimed Hempen, the soccer coach, told Gillaspie he wanted her off the team, and she also blamed the athletic department for not telling her she was failing two classes. Gillaspie also claimed CU illegally revoked her scholarship, despite her grades’ improving in her second semester.

The lawsuit sought at least $150,000 to compensate Gillaspie for the cost of her education, as well as compensatory damages and legal fees.

Gillaspie’s suit claimed she left the Dec. 7, 2001, party and went to a restaurant, where she met a CU football player. According to the lawsuit, she later went to the player’s home and engaged in “consensual amorous activities” before he allegedly pinned her to a bed and raped her.

The lawsuit also accused former CU strength coach, E.J. “Doc” Kreiss, of banning Gillaspie from the Dal Ward Center, where CU’s athletes train, in retaliation for her cooperating with a police investigation of the party. Kreiss was fired in April 2003 and now serves as the strength coach at University of California at Los Angeles. Kreiss is suing the school for wrongful termination.

 

 
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