The lawyers tasked with investigating the University of Colorado's handling of domestic violence allegations against a former assistant football coach will focus their inquiry on whether Chancellor Phil DiStefano, Athletic Director Rick George and CU football coach Mike MacIntyre violated campus policies by failing to report the accusations.
The scope of the outside investigation was unclear until this week, when the university provided the Daily Camera with a copy of the contract between CU and lawyers Leslie Gomez and Gina Maisto Smith, who specialize in institutional response to sexual misconduct and gender-based harassment.
The contract was signed Feb. 14 and approved by the CU Procurement Service Center on Monday, according to campus spokesman Ryan Huff.
"The firm shall conduct an impartial, thorough and prompt preliminary inquiry pursuant to applicable university policies and procedures regarding the failure to report allegations," according to the contract.
The two lawyers — who together will charge the university $1,211 per hour for their services — will provide CU with an initial assessment of the situation and recommendations for how to proceed, which could include further investigation, changes to policies and procedures and training. They are also available to conduct a formal investigation into the situation, according to the contract.
The lawyers will work primarily with Valerie Simons, CU's Title IX coordinator and the executive director of the Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance, which investigates instances of sexual misconduct, discrimination and harassment.
Gomez and Maisto Smith recently investigated Baylor University and produced a report showing that the university did not take seriously complaints of women who had been assaulted by football players. Their investigation resulted in Baylor firing its football coach, suspending its athletic director and demoting university president Kenneth Starr.
Allegations of violent abuse
At CU, they're looking into what happened after a woman called MacIntyre on Dec. 9 and told him that Joe Tumpkin, then the CU safeties coach, had repeatedly and violently abused her for the last two years of their romantic relationship.
Tumpkin's ex-girlfriend shared her account of what happened after she made that phone call with Sports Illustrated, which published a lengthy story on the situation in early February.
According to the Sports Illustrated report, the next call the woman received was from a criminal defense attorney representing Tumpkin.
Meanwhile, according to a CU statement, MacIntyre informed George, who then informed CU's chancellor.
MacIntyre selected Tumpkin to call defensive plays in the Buffs' Dec. 29 appearance at the Alamo Bowl, despite receiving a Dec. 15 voicemail from the woman saying she planned to go to the police and seek a restraining order against Tumpkin.
University leaders said they did not become aware of a temporary restraining order against Tumpkin until Jan. 6, when a Daily Camera reporter contacted the department with questions. A judge signed the order on Dec. 20.
The Athletic Department suspended Tumpkin on Jan. 6 and told him to resign on Jan. 27. He was charged with five felony counts of second-degree assault in early February.
As supervisors, MacIntyre, George and DiStefano are considered "responsible employees" under CU's sexual misconduct policy, which means they're required to report any possible prohibited conduct as soon as they learn of it.
DiStefano and George have said they regret not reporting the accusations to CU's Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance.
Last week, DiStefano told the Camera he didn't report the allegations because he didn't think he had to, based on his reading of CU's policies.
Some people disagree with the chancellor's interpretation, including the group that represents professors on the Boulder campus and CU Regent Jack Kroll, who also works on the campus and is a mandatory reporter.
Members of the Boulder Faculty Assembly filed a report with CU's Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance saying they believed DiStefano, George and MacIntyre violated university policy by failing to report the allegations.
CU's policies prohibit intimate partner abuse, including domestic and dating violence. The policies apply off-campus if the misconduct could adversely affect the health, safety or security of any member of the university community or the mission of the university.
According to the Sports Illustrated report, Tumpkin's ex-girlfriend told MacIntyre that she was "terrified that Joe was going to kill himself or someone else."
Sarah Kuta: 303-473-1106, firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter.com/sarahkuta
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