CU in Court

Back on the case of the CU sex-recruiting scandal

Julie was stunned. "She only gave me ten minutes of her time," she recalls. "I pretty much felt stupid for even requesting the meeting; she made me feel like I had no case. That left me really confused because I was told I could prosecute in 2001. Why should I be punished for some scandal that's going on up at CU?"

The claims of rape at the university played out in a welter of investigations and exposés. Lawsuits brought by Lisa Simpson and other alleged victims were dismissed, reinstated, then settled for millions. Meanwhile, Julie continued to learn disturbing details about her own case, including the fact that an arrest warrant for Surrell had been prepared but never executed. Last year she found a lawyer and demanded that the case be transferred out of the Arapahoe County DA's office. Chambers agreed that a special prosecutor should be appointed, but then passed the case to Larimer County for informal review.

"Everyone was passing it around like a hot potato," says Kerr, who agreed to take on Julie's case pro bono after representing Simpson. "But if you look at the facts, they're very strong."

Judge Samour thought so. In ordering that the case proceed, he found that Arapahoe County's handling of the matter was "arbitrary, capricious, and without reasonable excuse" — a tough standard for judicial jump-starting of a stalled prosecution. But it's not the first time a high-profile case has been removed from Chambers's office; last April a Lincoln County judge disqualified her team from further work on a death-penalty case because of numerous instances of alleged misconduct ("Bad Execution," April 10).

Wolf says that Arapahoe County will await a written ruling before deciding whether to appeal. Julie acknowledges that her journey through the justice system is far from over but calls the granting of her petition "the beginning of the end" of eight years of upheaval.

"Clyde was supposed to be my friend," she says. "When he did that, not only did I lose all my friends at the time, but I lost my trust in everyone. That's hard to get back. I've been through therapy, but I can't get over it unless I have some closure.

"I want marriage and children some day, but right now I don't have relationships. I don't have a normal life. What has driven me this whole time is to gain my time in court. I'm a stubborn girl, and I will fight to get what I deserve and what's right."

After graduating from CU, Clyde Surrell played wide receiver for an arena football team, the Stockton Lightning, and coached briefly at Chaparral High School in Parker. He could not be reached for comment.

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