Sing, You Sinners!

The sounds of silence at CU.

Gary Barnett, the still-on-paid-leave-for-two-more-weeks coach of the University of Colorado football team, finally got to sing Tuesday before the panel investigating whether CU used alcohol or sex (as if the two were ever independent of each other) in the Buffs' recruiting program.

"There is no question in my mind that inappropriate behavior occurred," Barnett told the commission, which is supposed to report back to the CU Board of Regents by April 30. "There is no question that the behavior of the ten young people involved was the result of their own poor decisions and under the influence of alcohol."

Those ten young people include at least four football players, along with three women who've sued CU in federal court, charging that they were sexually assaulted after a December 7, 2001, recruiting party -- and that the school failed to provide them with equal protection under the law. But any "inappropriate behavior" by players doesn't mean that his department acted inappropriately, Barnett continued. "I can't live their lives for them."

No, the Buffs have someone else assigned to do that: Officer Don Spicely, a thirteen-year veteran of the Boulder Police Department who for several of those years has been a liaison between the BPD and the football team.

"We have no evidence or reason to believe Officer Spicely did anything wrong," BPD chief Mark Beckner said shortly after the cop's name surfaced in the CU scandal. "We know Officer Spicely as a dedicated, proud officer who takes his responsibility seriously. He is very disturbed by the speculation and innuendo that has occurred."

"Officer Don Spicely's assignment at that time (2001) was as a liaison to the CU football team," explained a January 29 statement released by the City of Boulder. "This assignment (held by many different officers over the years) dated back to the 1980s, when relationships between the police and CU athletes were strained. As we do with many other community groups, neighborhoods and other agencies, we actively pursue the development of working relationships with the University of Colorado and segments of the student population to address problems and issues. This is a central component to the policing philosophy we embrace in Boulder, often referred to as Community Oriented Policing. As expected, Officer Spicely had developed a close working relationship with the football team and the coaches, which served us well in resolving issues."

Except that in Boulder, nothing is ever resolved. Not JonBenét Ramsey's murder, and not the investigation into CU's recruiting policies. On Thursday, the co-chairs of that panel will ask the Board of Regents for more time, since their probe has been hampered by such problems as a promised tip line that has yet to be installed and key witnesses who have yet to testify. Witnesses like Officer Spicely -- sounds like an R-rated version of Officer Friendly, doesn't it? -- who has retained a lawyer and has thus far successfully avoided appearing before the commission.

Here's how his testimony could go -- if his speech were written by Stephen Sondheim to the tune of "Gee, Officer Krupke" and the CU football team were as well-behaved (not to mention athletically gifted) as the gang members in West Side Story:

Dear kindly Mister Spicely
You gotta understand
When we're recruiting nicely
It just looks out of hand
'Cause CU's known for parties
The girls here all are drunks
Golly, Betsy, naturally we're punks...

Gee, Officer Spicely
We're very upset
We never had the lovin'
Every CU guy should get
We ain't like the Air Force
We're trained for the score
Deep down inside us there is more...

Dear kindly Joyce and Peggy
The media treats us rough
With all their ink and airtime
They don't honor a Buff
To get those juicy headlines
Like Nebraska, they attack
Goodness gracious, when will Coach fight back?

Right! Officer Spicely
Since you're always there
These boys don't need a stripper
They need a coed's sweet care
It's just their high spirits
Put a flag on the play
So go tell Chief Beckner it's okay...

Dear Officer Spicely
We're down on our knees
'Cause that's where girls can give
a guy a blow job with ease.
Dear Officer Spicely
What are we to do?
Gee, Officer Spicely...
Call you!

Room to Glow

At the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability conference in Washington, D.C., late last month, Wes McKinley, the foreman of the Rocky Flats grand jury and co-author of the book The Ambushed Grand Jury, received a Whistleblower Award "for ongoing work to educate the public on the environmental threat of nuclear weapons production." Jacque Brever, a former Rocky Flats worker and FBI informant who'd testified before the grand jury, also received a Whistleblower Award from the nonprofit, "for risking her life and career by blowing the whistle on environmental crimes at Rocky Flats and continued efforts to protect the public from its contamination."

But for both Brever and McKinley, as well as his co-author, attorney Caron Balkany, the real prize had come a week earlier, when Congressman Mark Udall -- whose district includes the former nuclear-weapons plant -- sent a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, asking them to look into the book's claims that environmental crimes at Rocky Flats had been covered up by the Justice Department. Considering that Udall's predecessor, David Skaggs, had stymied an attempt by the grand jurors to testify before Congress at the last second, this looked like a major bureaucratic breakthrough.

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