Commentary

Letters to the Editor

Page 2 of 3

Sam Coffman
Lakewood

Lie detector: No question, Kumbe Ginnane lied.

At least seven times. He lied to Detective Tim Delaria of the University of Colorado police when he was asked if he sexually assaulted a number of women at CU-Boulder during the 1990-1991 school year. He lied to the Boulder District Attorney's Office. He lied to the jury. He lied to his family. He lies in his book, From Regret to Rape. He lies on his website. And he lied to Patricia Calhoun, editor of Westword.

Kumbe Ginnane, rapist, was convicted of one count of first-degree sexual assault and one count of third-degree sexual assault in 1992.

I am the victim of that third-degree sexual assault -- a humiliating, painful experience for me. I am also the first victim to come forward, first to the CU housing department, then to the police. Ginnane would have you believe that there was only one victim, who accused him of rape out of regret, spite and envy. But there were three victims who went to court. And there were other victims who gave statements to police, but for one reason or another, their cases did not result in prosecution. The third victim to press charges told the detective Ginnane liked to grab women's crotches regularly. "Maybe it's like a handshake to him," she told police.

He went to trial on four counts of sexual assault of varying degrees and one count of harassment.

I remember testifying against him, what I wore, how it felt, how much I wanted to throw up. I shook so hard that I kept stepping on my own feet as I sat on the stand, hoping to stop them from trembling. I wore a purple silk blouse and a black wool skirt. Pantyhose. Black loafers. I faced a hostile courtroom full of his supporters, and I told my story. I had only one reason to put myself through it: He assaulted me. I wasn't allowed to see the others testify.

The jury found him guilty on two of those counts. He was sentenced to six months behind bars in my case, and eight years in prison for the gang rape. When Judge Joseph Bellipanni released Ginnane on probation six months later, he swore on the Bible that he was sorry for his crimes and promised that he would never recant his guilt.

He recanted. And failed to comply with sex-offender treatment. And had anger-management issues that came to light in therapy. He went back to Cañon City for a reason.

Ginnane would like you to believe that he is a victim of the system, but if you look at the facts of this fifteen-year-old case, you'll see that he leaves out facts that don't benefit him, makes up other facts and twists even more facts. Ginnane was offered a deal if he'd plead guilty to third-degree sexual assault. He declined it, now telling Calhoun he refused "because it involved the word Œsexual,' and he believed he was innocent of sexual assault," but my guess is he was playing the odds.

There had never been an acquaintance-rape conviction in Boulder, and possibly all of Colorado. At the time, it seemed unlikely that he would ever be convicted. Why plead to anything if he thought he could get away with it?

Ginnane told Calhoun, "If you are going to have sex with women, don't be rude to them." But this was never a matter of rudeness; it's been a matter of rape and sexual assault. What Ginnane did to me was far beyond rude; it was sex acts without my consent. He didn't penetrate me (thank God), but what he did do was pretty damaging to me. Two weeks into my college career, Ginnane changed everything. I never knew how vulnerable I was, even in public, until I met him.

That was not what my parents had hoped I would learn at CU. My youngest sister is just beginning her freshman year at a university in Colorado. I can only hope that our landmark case makes it a safer place for her. I just hope no one's gullible enough to believe a proven liar. It might just turn the clock back fifteen years.

Name withheld on request


English, Sí!

Porn again: Regarding Patricia Calhoun's "Comic Relief," in the August 11 issue:

I've never read or even looked at the so-called Spanish porn that has caused so much controversy at the Denver Public Library. However, I have read quite a few "romance" novels written in English. After reading all the stories and letters concerning this subject, I get the feeling that the two genres are pretty comparable. The romance novels have some very racy story lines, and some of the passages are downright pornographic. So why is it okay for the average English-speaking person to read this "trash," but not for the average Spanish-speaking person? It sounds to me like it's coming down to the same old reason that we should have gotten past by now: racism.

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