posted on Mar, 27 2004 @ 08:13 AM
Recently: Judge orders gag order
A federal magistrate is considering a gag order in a rape lawsuit against the University of Colorado after excerpts of the alleged victim's diary
showed up in the media.
Magistrate Craig Shaffer refused the woman's request for sanctions against the university, saying it was unclear who distributed the excerpts. But he
questioned whether his orders were being followed.
"My concern is this is becoming less of a lawsuit decided in court and more of a lawsuit to be decided by dueling press releases," Shaffer said.
He ordered lawyers to spell out by April 2 steps for preventing more leaks, and to give him input on possible restrictions on statements on the
Lisa Simpson's lawsuit alleges she was raped at a 2001 party at her Boulder apartment attended by CU football players and recruits. Simpson, 22, has
agreed to have her name used publicly.
Two other women have filed suit alleging they were raped by athletes who were at the party. All three suits accuse CU of fostering a hostile
environment for women in violation of federal laws guaranteeing equal access to education. No criminal sex assault charges have been filed.
Simpson's attorneys agreed to give CU access to the diary last year, and portions also were included in her deposition.
Shaffer had ordered that all of the diary be kept secret, and copies of Simpson's deposition that were released publicly had the diary excerpts
redacted. But newspapers obtained unredacted copies of the deposition and published portions of the diary.
Simpson's attorneys said CU leaked the diary and should be sanctioned.
CU attorney Steve Dunham said everyone at the university who is believed to have seen the unredacted depositions, including an undisclosed CU regent
and CU's risk management office, said they had not shared the document.
Shaffer questioned why the regent needed to see the documents and said that in hindsight, some of the dissemination of the documents was
Simpson's lawyer Baine Kerr said publication of the diary excerpts was akin to being raped.
"She has been weeping at home and sobbing to us on the telephone," he said, adding that what happened to Simpson would have a "chilling effect" on
other rape victims.
Shaffer rejected Kerr's request to investigate who leaked the unredacted depositions. He told both sides to focus on the upcoming trial.
Kerr said after the hearing that he wished Shaffer had sanctioned CU but was still pleased with the ruling.