ABC News' Huma Khan reports: Colorado Senate candidate Ken Buck is taking heat for not prosecuting a rape case five years ago on the basis that there wasn’t enough evidence.
The victim was a college student at the University of North Colorado when she was allegedly raped by an ex-boyfriend while drunk in her home. This week, she released tapes of her meeting with Buck, then a Weld County district attorney, who argued that there is not enough "proof beyond reasonable doubt" to take the case up to the jury.
Read a transcript of the conversation HERE.
Buck told the victim that even though she never said yes to sex with her boyfriend, it appeared to be consensual because she called him over and had a prior relationship with him. Buck also warned the victim against filing any other motions because “it will be very public, publicly covered event.”
The conservative candidate has often been the target of women’s groups for his stance on abortion. He has argued that abortion should be illegal even in the cases of incest and rape. Earlier this year, he supported an amendment to the state constitution that would directly challenge the federal government over fetus rights, although he later changed his position.
Buck is a Tea Party favorite who defeated the Republican establishment favorite’s Lt. Gov. Jane Norton in the primary. Multiple polls show him ahead of his Democratic opponent, Michael Bennet.
But the rape case and the national attention it has garnered brings a new headache for the campaign just three weeks shy of the election.
Buck’s campaign said the issue is merely being fueled by the left to distract voters from real issues.
"This case was not prosecutable as found not only by all the law enforcement agencies in Weld County but also by the Boulder district attorney’s office," Buck spokesman Owen Loftus told ABC News. "So this is just Progress Now trying to politicize this. Unfortunately there are cases that you just can’t prosecute because they’re not — there’s not a chance that the jury would find a conviction. That’s just how it goes with a district attorney’s office.”
Advocacy organization Progress Now helped facilitate an interview between the victim and The Colorado Independent, which first raised the issue.
Loftus pointed out that as district attorney, Buck started a program for victims of sexual assault and helped raise funds for a specialized nurse program to help treat victims of sexual abuse.
"When it comes down to it, women understand and voters understand in general that these are just attacks by the left," he added. "They can’t win on their issues."