Trial Date Set for U. of Colo. Lawsuit

A judge set a trial date Wednesday for a lawsuit against the University of Colorado (search) that touched off a scandal in the football program over allegations that sex, drugs and alcohol were used to lure recruits.

A judge set a May 31 date for the federal suit filed by former student Lisa Simpson (search), who said she was raped by players or recruits at an off-campus party in 2001.

The lawsuit has been consolidated with one filed by another woman with similar claims. Both women accuse the school of fostering an environment in which women routinely suffer sexual harassment in violation of federal laws requiring equal access to education.

School officials have denied the claims.

A total of three women have filed lawsuits alleging they were raped by football players or recruits who attended the 2001 party. No criminal sexual assault charges were ever filed.

The football recruiting scandal erupted in January when a deposition of Boulder County prosecutor Mary Keenan by one of Simpson's attorneys was made public.

Keenan said prosecutors met with university officials in 1998 to discuss an alleged rape the year before and advised them to clamp down on partying by recruits and their student-hosts. She also said she believed the football program used sex and booze to entice recruits.

A grand jury and a panel appointed by the Board of Regents found that sex, drugs and alcohol were used to lure players, but without the school's knowledge. A football recruiting aide has been indicted for soliciting prostitution and embezzlement for using a cell phone to call a dating chat line.

Simpson, who has agreed to have her name used in media reports, last week sought to add allegations that school officials retaliated against her for filing the suit. She withdrew the request Wednesday after U.S. Magistrate Craig Shaffer said that could delay the trial until 2006.

Simpson had wanted to add arguments that officials at the university's Denver campus reversed themselves and refused to let her enroll under a pseudonym.