Ken Buck spokesman: Rape case stories smears that may scare women away from reporting

Page 2 of 3

The 2005 incident involved a University of Northern Colorado student who went public anonymously the following year after Buck, in his capacity as Weld County district attorney, decided not to prosecute what she said was an example of date rape. In a 2006 Greeley Tribune article, Buck explained that "a jury could very well conclude that this is a case of buyer's remorse" due to the facts of the case.

Previously, Buck laid out some of the obstacles to a successful prosecution amid a meeting with the victim. In the session, Buck told her, "You had consumed a lot of alcohol. You had a prior relationship. According to him, you were naked from the top up when he came into the bedroom."

She had also called to invite the man to come over -- but both she and the man confirmed that she said "no" to sex on multiple occasions.

During a September 21 news conference highlighting Buck's opposition to abortion in cases of rape and incest, Kjersten Forseth, executive director of the liberal organization ProgressNow Colorado, mentioned the "buyer's remorse" comment, but none of the media organizations followed up on it. However, the Colorado Independent's Scot Kersgaard, who hadn't been able to attend the press event, contacted ProgressNow after being sent a release and the Tribune article. He asked to speak to the victim, who Forseth had been in touch with for several months. After checking with the woman, Forseth says she put her and Kersgaard together.

The Monday Colorado Independent story that resulted featured a transcript of Buck's meeting with the victim, which had been recorded, while a Huffington Post piece published yesterday included an audio clip edited to obscure the woman's identity. The Michael Bennet campaign promoted the HuffPo item in a subsequent e-mail blast, leading to its mainstreaming in today's Denver Post.

Loftus's take on the brouhaha? "This is a coordinated attack by ProgressNow," he says. "They've been trying to push this story for months, but no news organization was picking it up. So they pushed it to their sister organization, the Colorado Independent."

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts