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Colorado May Consider Recruiting Changes

February 12, 2004

BOULDER, Colo. (AP) _ The University of Colorado is willing to consider changes to its athletic recruiting policies to settle three sexual assault lawsuits, if it meant the university would not have to pay damages, The Denver Post reported Thursday.

University president Betsy Hoffman told the newspaper that Colorado has made the offer repeatedly but with no success so far.

``They would have to drop their lawsuit, and we have no indication that anybody has any interest in doing that,″ Hoffman said.

A spokeswoman for one of the women said the university had rebuffed requests to discuss settlements, the newspaper reported. An attorney for another plaintiff said her client insists on compensation to cover damages.

The three women said they were raped during or after an off-campus party attended by football players and recruits in December 2001. They said the university fostered a hostile environment for women in violation of federal laws.

The lawsuits turned into a scandal after Boulder County District Attorney Mary Keenan said the university used sex and alcohol to lure promising high school players.

University officials have denied Keenan’s allegations as well as the claims in the lawsuits.

Peggy Jessel, an attorney for one of the plaintiffs, said her client wants financial compensation as well as policy changes. She wants to be compensated for such damages as the cost of therapy, leaving school and pain and suffering, Jessel said.

Lisa Simon, a spokeswoman for one of the other plaintiffs, disputed Hoffman’s contention that the university has made settlement overtures.

``They have ignored every request to even discuss settlement for the last year and a half,″ Simon told the newspaper. ``If CU is now expressing interest in resolving this case out of court, we hope that they’ll contact us directly.″

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