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CSU Pueblo Asks For Dismissal Of Controversial Lawsuit

By Brian Maass

PUEBLO, Colo. (CBS4)- Colorado State University Pueblo has filed documents in federal court asking that a lawsuit filed by former football player Grant Neal be dismissed. Neal filed suit against the college in April after he was indefinitely suspended for what he describes as a consensual sexual act with his girlfriend.

In his legal action, Neal claimed his due process rights were violated and the college engaged in gender discrimination.

In the motion to dismiss filed Monday, CSU Pueblo maintains Neal's claim should be dismissed "because he cannot demonstrate that any alleged procedural shortcomings in the disciplinary process or its outcome were motivated by gender bias."

Neal was a champion high school wrestler and outstanding football player at Regis Jesuit High School before deciding to attend CSU Pueblo on scholarship. He planned to obtain a medical degree.

Grant Neal1
The woman and Grant Neal (credit: CBS)

"I would like to be an orthopedic surgeon," said Neal.

But he said his dreams were destroyed last October.

An ongoing friendship with a female trainer for the CSU Pueblo football team progressed. On October 23, 2015, Neal and the woman went to a movie. Afterward, Neal said the woman performed oral sex on him in his car.

In text messages afterward, the woman told Neal her roommates "said they saw us doing stuff.'

Neal responded: 'like what?? Kissing'.

"No… like more than kissing," the woman texted back. "I'm so embarrassed… not gunna lie."

On Oct. 25, 2015, the female student invited Neal to her apartment saying she was alone. After a short amount of time, the two students ended up in her bedroom, undressed.

The two were making sexual contact when Neal said "She was very adamant in pulling me close and wanting me to have intercourse with her. At the beginning, when I was laying on top I didn't have a condom."

Grant Neal2
(credit: CBS)

Neal said the woman said she was not on birth control. "I immediately got off her and asked if I should put a condom on and she said 'yes' and then we engaged in sexual intercourse. She never said no and never told me to stop."

The next morning, Oct. 26, a friend of the woman's noticed a hickey on the woman's neck. When she learned the woman had sex with a prominent football player, she surmised her friend had been raped and reported that to university authorities.

Neal's girlfriend texted him: "I've been running around all day talking to so many people, trying to make things right!!! One of the other Athletic Training students screwed me over! She went behind my back and told my AT adviser stuff that wasn't true!!! I'm trying so hard to fix it all. I want to tell you what's going on. Please!"

Recognizing that something was going wrong, Neal met with the woman later that afternoon and recorded their conversation on his phone. In a recording obtained and reviewed by CBS4, the woman can be heard directly exonerating Neal of any rape accusation.

"I hope you know I don't think you did any of that, right? I may be acting like the typical girl who just got raped, but I hope you know I don't think I did," said Neal.

By Oct. 27, a full scale Title IX investigation was underway at CSU Pueblo. The female student had talked to a university investigator and text messaged Grant Neal.

Grant Neal4
(credit: CBS)

She says she told the investigator,"…he's a good guy. He's not a rapist, he's not a criminal, it's not even worth any of this hoopla."

According to CSU Pueblo's internal investigation, obtained by CBS4, the woman told an investigator, "Grant was lying on top of me and I told him that I did not want to have sexual intercourse with him that is unprotected because I am not on any birth control. Although I told Grant no, Grant ended up penetrating me … and I told him to stop. He stop and pulled out from me immediately. Grant then said to me that if he used a condom, would I be okay with that. I told Grant yes to the condom. Grant placed on the condom and we began to have protected sex at this point which I was okay with it."

That same night, Oct. 27, the woman met with Neal and went to his home. His roommates were gone and again, Neal and the woman engaged in consensual sex.

But CSU Pueblo's Title IX investigation found the preponderance of evidence substantiated a finding of sexual misconduct on the part of Grant Neal for participating in non-consensual sexual intercourse on Oct. 25, for the moment when he didn't have a condom on during that sexual encounter. The university suspended Neal from campus ruling he could not return until the woman graduates.

maass csu pueblo student
CBS4 Investigator Brian Maass interviews Grant Neal (credit: CBS)

"They ripped my education away from that I worked tirelessly for," said Neal.

In requesting the suit be dismissed, attorneys for CSU Pueblo wrote, "he does not and cannot allege any actual nexus between his gender and his purported mistreatment. Plaintiff's allegations are devoid of facts to support his conclusion of bias in the appeal process."

On Tuesday, Neal told CBS4 his attorneys are preparing to present a legal argument on why his lawsuit should go forward and the government's dismissal motion should be rejected.

CBS4 Investigator Brian Maass has been with the station more than 30 years uncovering waste, fraud and corruption. Follow him on Twitter @Briancbs4.

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