Pam Fine Responds to CU Coach's Efforts to Minimize His Abuse of Her

Pam Fine
Pam Fine Twitter
Last month, Pam Fine expressed gratitude that a sweetheart deal offered to former University of Colorado Boulder assistant coach Joe Tumpkin, who she says abused her more than 100 times, was put on hold so that the various parties could offer arguments for and against it.

Today, January 14, in advance of a February 1 hearing on the subject, a representative for Fine, who lives in Michigan, has delivered her response to 17th District Court Judge F. Michael Goodbee regarding documents submitted by defense attorneys Jon Banashek and Sean Lacefield, as well as a separate filing from prosecutors, who dropped five felony counts against Tumpkin after he agreed to plead guilty to a single misdemeanor, third-degree assault.

Prosecutors have suppressed their reply, and while Westword has obtained a copy of the defense document, we've chosen not to include it here because it is filled with material that invades Fine's privacy. However, we've included Fine's response, which castigates the other parties for attempting to justify the Tumpkin wrist slap by, in her view, attempting to minimize his crimes while casting aspersions on her character.

Here's a telling excerpt, in which Fine refers to herself as Tumpkin's victim:
In pleadings provided both by the State and Tumpkin in support of the plea deal, those parties largely argue that a plea deal is appropriate because the Victim could possibly be impeached. Victim shaming/smearing has long been a tactic to silence victims of domestic violence. Victim has always been aware of the possibilities of impeachment and personal embarrassment and has, courageously chosen to move forward. Further, she’s complied with every law enforcement request, which the prosecution is now seeking to use against her. The State has also widely acknowledged that the Victim’s behavior, in large part, is consistent with the behavior of domestic violence victims.

Perhaps most ironically, the State, in their Notice, chided the victim for her courage to speak out against the domestic violence in this case. It should first be noted, that in each instance, the Victim avoided media attention until it became obvious that her concerns were going to be swept under the rug. For example, the Victim tried desperately to avoid publicity until she learned that not only her concerns would not be addressed by the University of Colorado, but that she had actually been secretly BLOCKED by the high ranking school official who had promised her that he would help her through the process AND that the Defendant’s attorney contacted her on multiple occasions seeking her silence. Further, after reporting the abuse exactly as the Broomfield Police Department instructed her to, the Victim remained silent until prosecutors informed her of the astoundingly lenient plea deal they were going to offer to the abuser, Joseph Tumpkin. Quite frankly, it’s a stunning act of deception and misrepresentation for the parties to now argue that Victim somehow acted inappropriately by seeking a restraining order in Colorado as she was directed to by the Broomfield Police Department....
Joe Tumpkin's official CU Buffs portrait. - CUBUFFS.COM FILE PHOTO
Joe Tumpkin's official CU Buffs portrait. file photo
One example of alleged inaccuracies in the defense document involves a text exchange between Fine and Tumpkin following an attack on her circa 2016.

That March, Fine maintains, Tumpkin choked her with one hand while using the other to press her cell phone into stitches she'd gotten that morning related to a tooth extraction and implant. In a subsequent text exchange, Tumpkin responded to her description of this act by writing, "Look you pinch me in the mouth."

To that, Fine responded, "What?! Oh my God," after which Tumpkin substituted the word "punch" for "pinch." Fine took that to be an accusation that she'd struck him, as revealed by her next message: "Ok Joe. You are insane. No I didn't. Nice try."

To that, Tumpkin wrote, "No. You can punch me" — meaning, presumably, that he thought by letting her slug him, it would make up for his assault. But the defense document offers only the phrase, "Look you [punch]ed me in the mouth" and adds that she denied doing so, thereby leaving the false implication that it might actually have happened.

Another section of Fine's response sports the heading, "Text Examples of Admissions and Rage." Below, see the first four:
A. Ms. Fine: You put your arm in my throat and cussed me out again.

Mr. Tumpkin: I was trying to get my bag. Sorry

B. On Valentine's Day while broken up, Mr. Tumpkin sent flowers to Ms. Fine at work. The following text messages came in from Mr. Tumpkin. Ms. Fine did not respond between the first text at 9:26 pm and the next text at 3:01 pm and Mr. Tumpkin immediately became angry.

9:26 a.m "I tried to call, please call"

3:01 p.m. "Nice at least you can let me know you got the flowers I sent."

"Fucking bullshit"

"Pick up the motherfucking phone"

C. In April 2016, following abuse she suffered at the hands of Mr. Tumpkin on a recruiting trip in Tampa, Ms. Fine sent him a picture of herself that she had taken right before she left Detroit to fly to see Mr. Tumpkin.

Under her picture, she texted: "So excited. #17 days from broad moor until our wholes lives together. One thing you had to show me....transparency. This same day, I was choked, bit and lied to about Lana. Last time I ever saw you. Since then, Lana vacation, sky vacation, Maria talks, electric drinks, and of course more lies about Lana. I have put up with enough pain."

Mr. Tumpkin: “Next time you see me it filled with his kisses running fingers thru hair.”

D. Following the last attack on Ms. Fine on November 20, 2016, Ms. Fine and Mr. Tumpkin continued communicating. The majority of the conversations were about how dangerous he was and how he had to get help. Ms. Fine kept asking him to get help and he would say he would and then not do anything to show good faith. One sample of conversations from the dates between the last attack and the date Ms. Fine reported him:

Ms. Fine: You think I'm jealous and that's why? Joe, I'm not. I know what it's like in the beginning and what is down the road. The road rage, the drunk driving, the bars, the women, the lies and the abuse. I tried helping you for 3 years and you wouldn't listen. Your rage is unhealthy for you and especially women alone in your place or at a hotel with you.

Mr. Tumpkin: I know you aren't jealous pam I didn't say that

Ms. Fine: Ok. Nevermind. That was the answer as to what I want

Mr. Tumpkin: I just want to know what your purpose is

Ms. Fine: Protection of you and women

Mr. Tumpkin: Ok then I will go to jail.
Whether Tumpkin could find himself behind bars for third-degree assault is unclear at this point. The sentencing range for the offense, a Colorado Class 1 misdemeanor, includes a possible 6-to-24 months in jail and/or a fine of $500 to $5,000. Because Tumpkin is a first-time offender, his attorneys will no doubt lobby for leniency.

Judge Goodbee will determine if that happens or not, and Find has spoken positively about him, previously telling us he "is a strong advocate for victims. I believe by not accepting the motion [to formalize the plea deal last month] and asking them to explain why they made the agreement, he was attempting to support me."

At the February 1 hearing, Fine plans to be present alongside her mother, brother, sister, sister-in-law, cousin and friends from around the country — a large support group for when she'll face her abuser once again.

Click to read Pam Fine's response to Joe Tumpkin and state pleadings in support of the plea agreement.
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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