Friends: Emotional upheavals strengthen woman
A series of emotional upheavals led to a doctor’s care this spring for the woman accusing Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant of sexual assault.
According to friends and authorities, the death of her best friend, coupled with a relationship that ended, led the woman to seek medical help to deal with her situation.
“She knew she needed help and she got it. Anyone who tries to make it into something more than that is a liar,” said one friend, responding to rumors of suicide attempts.
One of the woman’s best friends, Nicole Clements, was killed in a traffic accident in Wolcott after Clements left this spring’s Red Canyon High School graduation ceremonies at 4Eagle Ranch. The woman, who friends say is a talented singer and musician, managed to find the strength to sing at Clements’ funeral.
“I couldn’t believe she could do it at all,” said a friend and classmate, “let alone sing so beautifully.”
District Attorney Mark Hurlbert huddled with the victim and the family Friday morning. He had no comment on the development.
“We’re still evaluating everything and searching through the evidence,” said Hurlbert.
Eagle County Sheriff Joe Hoy had no comment. The sheriff has said the media attention given to the case has been “mind-boggling.”
Colorado Bureau of Investigation Deputy Director Pete Mang said the agency is examining evidence such as exchange of hairs and fibers, and the exchange of body fluids such as blood, semen and saliva. Mang declined to say how long the analysis could take.
On Thursday, Hurlbert postponed a decision until next week on whether to formally file charges against Bryant. He said he is still waiting for all the evidence, including DNA, to be returned.
While the waiting is frustrating for the local and national media gathered to cover the story, as well as the simply curious, it’s just another turn on the emotional roller coaster the woman is riding, friends said.
Another of the woman’s friends said the woman has emerged stronger from her series of emotional traumas.
“She seems to be getting stronger all the time. But I’m not sure how she’ll cope with this assault and everything that goes with it,” said a long-time family friend. “This is something she just didn’t need.”
Friends continue to insist that they believe the woman’s story, and that she has no reason to lie. On the other side, Bryant’s fans continue to support the five-time NBA All Star and married father of one daughter who success as one of the leading ad pitchmen in the country is buoyed by a squeaky clean public image.
The 19-year-old woman’s accusations against Bryant stem from an alleged June 30 incident at The Lodge and Spa at Cordillera in Edwards. According to witnesses and published reports, the woman was working the front desk when a request reportedly came down from Bryant’s room. The woman went to the room and stayed either 20 to 30 minutes, or two hours – witness accounts differ. When she returned to the hotel lobby, she was reportedly in hysterics.
Bryant was in the area for surgery to his right knee at the Steadman Hawkins Clinic.
Authorities have refused to release dispatch response records to the woman’s address. When the Vail Daily asked the Eagle Police Department for response records to the address, they were refused by acting Eagle Police Chief Sgt. Gary Ward, and later town attorney Ed Sands.
Bryant’s booking mug shot released
In the first release of documents surrounding the arrest of Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant, officials made a mugshot available Friday on the Internet.
Media organizations, through Colorado Press Association attorney Tom Kelley, had challenged Hoy’s effort to keep the mugshot from public viewing. Hoy said he made the photo available on the advice of attorneys.
The low-resolution picture on the sheriff’s Web site shows the 24-year-old looking directly into the camera. He is wearing what appears to be a white shirt or a warmup jacket with black stripes on the shoulders.
The case file was ordered sealed by Clear Creek County Judge Russell Granger, who approved Hoy’s request to issue a warrant for Bryant’s arrest on felony sexual assault charges July 4.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.