An offseason drama at Colorado is now bleeding into the Buffaloes’ regular season.
According to the Boulder Daily Camera, Pamela Fine, the woman who alleged she was abused by former Colorado assistant coach Joe Tumpkin, filed a lawsuit earlier this month in U.S. District Court in Denver in which she alleges assault, battery, false imprisonment and intentional infliction of emotional distress perpetrated by Tumpkin. Additionally, she levied claims of negligence and civil conspiracy against head coach Mike MacIntyre, athletic director Rick George, chancellor Phil DiStefano and president Bruce Benson.
CU announced Jan. 27 that safeties coach Joe Tumpkin had “resigned” his position in the midst of domestic violence allegations and was subsequently charged with multiple counts of assault. Fine, Tumpkin’s ex-girlfriend, had accused MacIntyre’s assistant of multiple acts of domestic violence dating back to 2015 and as recently as November of last year. She obtained a permanent restraining order against Tumpkin, of which the university became aware Jan. 6 and initially triggered a suspension.
Despite knowledge of allegations that reportedly included 80 episodes of abuse — according to the alleged victim, she first went to MacIntyre’s wife — all parties, including the coach, his athletic director and his chancellor, agreed that Tumpkin would call the defensive plays in CU’s Dec. 29 bowl game in place of Jim Leavitt, who had taken the coordinator job at Oregon. CU subsequently defended their actions, and MacIntyre did the same.
CU hired an outside law firm to investigate the program’s and university’s handling of the allegations, finding in part that MacIntyre was informed by Fine Dec. 9 of a pattern of physical abuse suffered at the hands of Tumpkin. In June, disciplinary measures connected to that investigation were announced — MacIntyre and George were forced to donate $100,000 each to domestic violence causes while DiStefano was suspended for 10 days.
“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,” Fine said in a statement. “I am no longer protecting the men who silence victims in the name of winning football games.”
“Initially, our client had no intention of pursuing a lawsuit against these people,” a statement from Peter Ginsberg, Fine’s attorney, began. “Only when it became clear to her that the university had no intention of taking the matter seriously and that the criminal justice system had become mired in inactivity for inexplicable reasons, she realized she had to rely on herself to right the wrong she has endured and to do her best to make sure no one else would endure such abuse again.”
In its own statement, the university said that “[t]he claims in the lawsuit are not well-founded factually or legally, and we will defend our employees aggressively.”