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(MONUMENT, Colo.) FOX21 — Students at the University of Colorado Boulder are calling for the expulsion of a recently committed football player, Anthony “Deuce” Roberson, following numerous sexual assault allegations from former high school classmates.
When freshman Jenna Baker found out, she said: “My heart just dropped.” Baker, who attended the same high school as Roberson, started a petition calling for his expulsion. Since Jan. 25 when she started the petition, Baker said around 30 women have come forward to her, alleging they were sexually harassed and/or assaulted by Roberson while attending Palmer Ridge High School in Monument.
Roberson, who attended the high school from 2016 to 2020, committed to CU Boulder, becoming one of the football team’s newest wide receivers.
The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office (EPSO) is currently investigating Roberson for a “criminal attempt of posting, possession, or exchange of a private image by a juvenile,” in October 2018, according to EPSO Public Information Officer, Karla Schmidt. The case opened on Feb. 23, 2023. Schmidt declined to provide any further information because it is an active investigation.
The Sheriff’s Office also confirmed another investigation associated with Roberson from 2019, which is now inactive, but confirmed multiple victims listed in their records. The records from this case have been requested and are expected to be received within the next week.
Roberson has not responded to any requests for comment.
Baker’s petition calls on university officials to hold Roberson accountable. As of March 15, the petition had over 5,000 signatures. In the petition, she alleges a history of sexual misconduct allegations against Roberson, which spanned over four years.
Since the petition was created, Baker says over 30 women have come forward with sexual misconduct allegations against Roberson, including rape, assault, harassment, drugging, and attempting to pay for child pornography.
“This is not an instance of one time he was drunk and forgot how to understand consent. This is an instance of…a serial rapist,” said Baker, who herself was allegedly a target. Baker said while she was in high school Roberson apparently pressured her to send nude pictures of herself.
Baker and 10 other former students from the high school have been recording details of every single account that they’re receiving, in a document that is over 40 pages and counting, which they shared with FOX21. Each account includes alleged evidence the victims provided from; photos, videos, screenshots of conversations, texts, reports to the high school, university, police, testimony, etc.
“It’s 33 names right now…half of those are accounts of sexual assault or rape,” said Baker.
The university was reportedly first made aware of any sexual allegations against Roberson on Jan. 14, when a University of Colorado Boulder student emailed the Office of the Dean of Students alleging that Roberson raped another student during their time at Palmer Ridge High School, according to students who have viewed the email.
On behalf of the university, and the athletic department, Steve Hurlbert, the Director of Communications said, “We are aware of allegations involving football player Deuce Roberson…The player is currently away from the football team.”
As of Thursday, March 16, the Colorado Buffaloes 2023 Spring Football Roster still displayed Roberson’s name.
Palmer Ridge High School is known for winning football state championships. During Roberson’s high school season, Palmer Ridge became the first team from Monument to win three straight state titles in football.
“I know dozens of girls that went to Palmer Ridge administration…He was a star player…They were aware of his behavior and they chose to ignore it in favor of winning more state titles,” said Baker.
The Director of Communications for the school district, Mark Belcher said, that they cannot legally comment on student discipline situations, including former students. But, stated that “our team does not tolerate sexual misconduct, and any reports are taken seriously.”
Two former Palmer Ridge students have shared their stories publicly, Leah Seabolt alleged multiple accounts of sexual harassment and one account of sexual assault, and Maddie Cusick, alleged rape.
While she is fine with her story being shared, Seabolt declined to interview with FOX21, saying that it was too painful for her to once again relive the experience she went through.
According to Baker, the alleged incident of Cusick’s rape was widely known throughout the school. “It happened at a party like a mile and a half away from my house,” Baker said, retelling part of Cusick’s story.
Cusick also declined to interview with FOX21. However, both she and Seabolt shared their accounts with The Bold and the CU Independent, the university’s student news organizations. Their accounts were published and can be found in the joint article that broke this story on March 8.
The editors at The Bold said the article is getting widespread attention on campus.
“It was a very bold statement…For The Bold and the CU Independent to publicly come out against a football player,” said the Managing Editor of The Bold, Piper Vaughn, a Senior at CU Boulder, describing football as a key part of the culture of the school.
The university has gained national attention for recently hiring football legend Deion Sanders, also known as Coach Prime, as Head Coach for the team.
“We were worried about backlash…because of the hype and support around Coach Prime nationwide,” said the Editor-in-chief of The Bold, Shubhashika Singh, also a Senior.
In January, Sanders held a meeting he where warned his new team to respect women in the program or they would be asked to leave the team.
“If there’s any dysfunction or obstruction with your girlfriend, fiancée, or whoever, with any abuse, that’s it, it’s over,” Sanders said. “Don’t call me, don’t have your momma call me, don’t call rick. It’s a wrap. You understand that? We gon’ respect our women wholeheartedly.”
So far, the athletic department, including Coach Prime, has not addressed the situation in public.
With the April 22 spring game looming, students are wondering, when, and if it will be before Coach Prime makes his debut at that game as Head Coach for the Buffs.
“Here we are, two and a half months later, still trying to get them to address it at all,” said Baker.
FOX21 will continue to follow this story as it develops.