Victims' Advocate: Colorado Has 'Rape Culture'

April 12, 2004

Associated Press Writer

BROOMFIELD, Colo. (AP) - An advocate for sex assault victims told a panel investigating recruiting at Colorado that a "rape culture" exists in the school's sports programs.

Kathy Redmond, founder of the National Coalition Against Violent Athletes, said athletes have a sense of entitlement toward women at CU. She said she has worked with alleged victims of CU athletes.

"Players are taught that women are objects, commodities, and that if you come to this school, you get women, you get sex," said Redmond, who received a $50,000 settlement from Nebraska after she accused a football player of rape in 1991. The player was never charged.

The panel, appointed by the Board of Regents, is investigating allegations that sex and alcohol are used to entice football recruits to the Boulder campus.

At least eight women since 1997 have accused football players of rape, though no charges have been filed. The state attorney general is heading a separate investigation to see whether criminal charges are warranted.

Peter Steinhauer, chairman of the university's board of regents, did not immediately return a call for comment.

Suspended football coach Gary Barnett, who shook his head at times while Redmond spoke, said afterward he didn't want to respond to specific allegations.

Barnett, who will address the panel Tuesday, is on paid leave for remarks he made in connection to two of the allegations, including disparaging the athletic ability of former Colorado kicker Katie Hnida, who said she was raped by a teammate.

Steve Lower, president of a Denver striptease company, Hardbodies Entertainment, also testified Monday. He said CU players hire strippers from his company for recruiting parties once or twice a year, but the university has never paid.

"Whether the coaching staff turns their back on it or they don't, they honestly don't have anything to do with these parties," he said.

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