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One of the women who alleges a University of Colorado football player raped her received a letter of apology from the man involved that says “I am so sorry that I have caused you pain,” her lawyer said. “The letter exists and she has it,” lawyer Allison Lee of Denver said Monday. The Colorado scandal erupted about a month ago, when federal lawsuits were filed by three women alleging they were raped by football players or recruits in 2001. The women say the school failed to rein in its athletes and fostered an environment that contributed to the assaults. In all, seven women have accused football athletes of sexual assault since 1997, though no charges have been filed. Football coach Gary Barnett has been placed on leave. The woman whom Lee is representing worked for the school’s athletic department when she reported being raped in September 2001. She said the player was visiting her in her apartment; he said the sex was consensual. In the end, she didn’t pursue criminal charges. She says it was because of intimidation by Barnett, who allegedly said he would back his player against her claim “100 percent.” “She was intimidated by coach Barnett’s statements of support for the player,” said Lee. District Attorney Mary Keenan, who has testified that she believes CU uses sex and alcohol to lure football recruits, said she didn’t understand at the time why the woman wouldn’t pursue a criminal case. “Since then, my understanding is that she felt she’d lose her job if she moved forward. And she needed it,” Keenan said. Barnett was placed on paid administrative leave on Feb. 18 by CU President Elizabeth Hoffman for remarks disparaging the athletic ability of another woman who alleged assault by a football player. According to a Boulder police report, the woman who worked at the athletic department met on Oct. 1, 2001, with Barnett and two other department officials, Steve Willard and Brian Winkelbauer. Lee said Barnett promised the player would undergo treatment, and later Willard, who was the woman’s boss, asked if a letter of apology from the player would help. She said yes. Who actually ordered the player to write the letter remained unclear, but the letter released by Lee offers repeated apologies for the player’s unspecified actions. “I am so sorry for what I have done to you,” it says. “I am so sorry that I have caused you pain.” I would have never thought, not in a million years, that I would hurt someone like this. … This is not who I am.” Barnett has said he could not comment on the letter because of privacy issues. According to Boulder police reports, the woman was told during the meeting with school officials that Barnett would support his player. “She was also told that he would back his player 100 percent if she took this forward in the criminal process,” Boulder detective Katie McEldowney wrote in a report dated Oct. 15, 2001. The night Barnett was placed on leave he told reporters there were “inaccuracies in the police report” but he didn’t elaborate. The case eventually was closed Jan. 15, 2002, when the woman repeated to police she did not want to press charges. Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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