Attorneys Accused of ‘victim Shaming’ in CU Case
Pamela Fine, the ex-girlfriend of former University of Colorado assistant coach Joe Tumpkin, accused both defense attorneys and prosecutors of “victim shaming” for supporting a misdemeanor plea deal for Tumpkin in his domestic violence case.
Tumpkin, 47, was charged with five counts of second-degree assault and three counts of third-degree assault, but prosecutors have offered him a deal in which Tumpkin would plead guilty to one count of third-degree assault, a misdemeanor.
But after Fine, the named victim in the case, objected to the plea bargain, Broomfield Judge Michael Goodbee asked both prosecutors and defense attorneys to file motions explaining the deal .
Defense attorneys filed their motion in late December, saying a lack of evidence and possible alternative motives for Fine coming forward justified the plea deal .
The motion filed by prosecutors has been suppressed by the court, according to the 17th Judicial District Attorney’s Office.
But Fine, who Goodbee ruled had a right to see the motions and respond to them, referenced both Tumpkin’s motion and a filing by prosecutor Trevor Moritzkey in her response.
“It is hard to read those motions and realize that the fear of reporting domestic violence is justified,” Fine wrote. “A victim who does not feel supported by her own prosecutor and then is subjected to reading his missive containing misrepresentation of the facts, omissions of the crimes that were committed, and innuendos surrounding her motives and credibility has only served to undermine the other victims in the 17th District coming forward to report their abuse.”
According to an arrest affidavit, Fine told police Tumpkin assaulted her more than 100 times between February 2015 and November 2016 while they were dating.
Tumpkin was forced to resign from CU after the allegations became public.
In her response, Fine indicated both sides had concerns about what would happen if she were called to the stand, but said she “is willing to withstand any level of cross-examination by the defense.”
“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,” Fine wrote. “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.”
In Tumpkin’s motion, his attorney Jon Banashek also questioned whether Fine had made the accusations for media attention, but Fine in her motion pointed out she did not initially reveal her name or speak publicly about the case. In her motion, she indicated prosecutors may have also echoed this claim.
“Perhaps most ironically, the state, in their notice, chided the victim for her courage to speak out against domestic violence in this case,” Fine wrote. ”(It) should 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.”
She also said her move to seek a restraining order in Colorado, which defense attorneys said was evidence she was seeking attention, was done at the advice of Broomfield police.
“Now Ms. Fine’s motives are being questioned despite being told to come to Colorado by the Broomfield Police Department,” she wrote. “Mr. Moritzky’s questioning of a victim’s motives for reporting severe abuse to his office feels more painful and shaming than even the motion submitted by Mr. Banashek.”
Goodbee will issue a written ruling on whether he will accept the plea deal, though he did not set a timeline for when he would issue such a ruling. Tumpkin is currently set for a Feb. 1 hearing that will be a disposition hearing if Goodbee accepts the plea deal or a preliminary hearing if he rejects it.
In closing, Fine wrote to Goodbee that she “walked in to the police department two years ago so that Joe Tumpkin wouldn’t hurt another woman.”
“I am asking that you hear my voice and realize that it is not the voice of a vindictive, attention-seeking, money-grubbing woman like Mr. Moritzky and Mr. Banashek have worked so hard to portray me as,” Fine wrote. “Instead, I am a survivor of domestic violence.”
Mitchell Byars: 303-473-1329, email@example.com or twitter.com/mitchellbyars