Sheriff agrees with accuser’s decision
EAGLE – The man who pushed to have Kobe Bryant arrested for rape said Thursday that the alleged victim made the right move in dropping out of the criminal case.Eagle County Sheriff Joe Hoy said he agreed with the alleged victim “100 percent” after hearing all the details about why she made her decision not to go forward with the criminal case. Hoy wouldn’t say exactly why he agrees with the alleged victim because, he said, her reasons are personal.Hoy side-stepped District Attorney Mark Hurlbert last year and had Bryant arrested July 4, 2003, two days after the District Attorney’s Office, working with Bryant’s attorneys, had allowed Bryant to fly home two days before and agreed to let the holiday weekend pass before further action. The move was a breach of normal protocol and surprised Hurlbert when he learned of the arrest that Sunday evening. The district attorney is the authority who decides what charges, if any, to file against a criminal suspect.Hoy said Thursday if he had to do it again he would not change a thing. He said he’s very proud of his detectives and insisted they did a great job. Bryant’s defense attorney, Pamela Mackey, disagreed. In the first public statement she made, just hours after Bryant’s arrest became public, she called the Sheriff’s Office investigation “biased” and said her client would be exonerated.
Hoy said prosecutors and sheriff’s officers worked together on the case from the start.”If I didn’t think it was a valid case, we wouldn’t have gone forward,” Hoy said.The toughest blow for prosecutors was District Judge Terry Ruckriegle’s ruling to allow some testimony about the woman’s sexual activity for 72 hours prior to her rape exam.Colorado’s rape shield law generally prevents testimony about an alleged victim’s sexual history. Ruckriegle ruled there are exceptions when the evidence could raise doubt about the source of injuries. Bryant’s attorneys had suggested that the alleged victim had sex with someone else after Bryant and before her rape exam, an allegation both she and her attorney denied.Hoy was adamant that the young woman is a victim and should not be described as an “accuser” or anything else.
Wednesday evening, after Ruckriegle granted Hurlbert’s motion to dismiss the case, Hoy said Bryant was free to go but not free of what he did.”Everyone now knows what he did, what kind of man he is, and women will know not to go back to his room with him alone,” Hoy said.He said Bryant’s claim that this has been difficult for him is difficult to believe.”During this, Bryant has signed a multimillion-dollar contract, got his own team and his own coach,” Hoy said. “He may have lost some endorsements, but he’ll get more back in a few years.”Hoy said the criminal case may be over, but justice has not been done.
“It would have been good to see it go through. But under the circumstances, it was the right thing,” he said.Michelle Hofland is a correspondent with NBC News.Vail, Colorado