June 13, 2017 / 4:55 AM / 2 years ago

University of Colorado leaders punished over response to abuse claims

DENVER (Reuters) - The University of Colorado has suspended the chancellor at its flagship campus for 10 days without pay for failing to respond quickly to accusations of domestic violence against a former assistant football coach, school officials said on Monday.

In addition to the punishment against chancellor Phil DiStefano, two other prominent University of Colorado Boulder officials - head football coach Mike MacIntyre and athletic director Rick George - were ordered to donate $100,000 each to domestic violence prevention programs over their mishandling of the allegations.

The punishment came after a closed meeting of the school’s board of regents on Monday. The body met to discuss the findings of an independent investigation into the school’s handling of domestic abuse allegations against former assistant football coach Joe Tumpkin by an ex-girlfriend.

“We said at the outset of this matter that we didn’t handle it as we should have, particularly in how we communicated with Tumpkin’s former partner and how we reported the matter internally,” President Bruce Benson said in a statement announcing the punishments.

“We will own our mistakes and own the solutions,” Benson said.

DiStefano said in a statement he regrets not taking swifter action. MacIntyre said he accepts the school’s decision. George said he takes “full responsibility” for his actions.

Tumpkin was suspended in early January after news accounts emerged of the accusations. Tumpkin then agreed to resign in late January after a judge granted a restraining order against him.

According to school officials, Tumpkin’s accuser, whose name has not been made public, contacted MacIntyre in mid-December about the domestic violence, two weeks before the team played in the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio.

Tumpkin was charged in January with five counts of felony assault. He is free on bond.

The reports of abuse and the subsequent investigation have rocked the state’s flagship campus at a time when the long-losing Buffaloes were enjoying success on the gridiron.

MacIntyre was named the 2016 Walter Camp Foundation’s national coach of the year, as well as the PAC-12 conference’s coach of the year.

MacIntyre was set to receive a raise due to the team’s success. The school’s board of regents will take up the issue of the coach’s pay later this month, a spokesman for the college said.

Reporting by Eric M. Johnson in Seattle; Editing by Michael Perry

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