Kobe accuser has `visible evidence,' friend claims


Thu, Jul 24, 2003 - Page 20

The 19-year-old woman who accused Kobe Bryant of sexually assaulting her had "visible evidence" of the alleged attack a week later, one of her friends said on Tuesday.

Luke Bray declined to be more specific out of respect for his friend and her family.

"There is visible evidence of what happened," he said.

Eagle County sheriff's spokeswoman Kim Andree declined comment on Bray's statement. Neither prosecutor Mark Hurlbert nor Bryant's attorneys returned telephone messages seeking comment.

Hurlbert has said he believes he has enough physical and testimonial evidence to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt.

The 24-year-old Bryant was charged with one count of sexually assaulting the concierge at an exclusive mountain resort last month. He said the sex was consensual and that he only committed adultery.

The Los Angeles Lakers star is free on bond pending an Aug. 6 court hearing during which he will be formally advised of the charge against him.

An Eagle County district judge has sealed most documents, including the arrest affidavit, details of the physical evidence and other information. The Denver Post, the Los Angeles Times, NBC and the Vail Daily have asked a district judge to release some of the material.

The alleged victim is a college student who took a summer job at the Lodge & Spa at the Cordillera in nearby Edwards. Friends say she is an energetic former cheerleader known for her love of music. She once tried out for the television program, "American Idol."

Bray, 21, said he saw the woman about a week after the alleged assault on June 30. "She was still shaken up. She was pretty much in denial," he said. "She couldn't believe it."

He said the woman was also at his house on Friday to watch news conferences where Hurlbert announced the charges and Bryant admitted adultery and apologized to his wife.

"She couldn't believe that his wife was sitting there and apparently didn't care about adultery," Bray said.

Sara Dabner, 17, who sang in the Eagle County High School choir with the woman, asked: "Why would a woman put herself through all of this -- having people call her names? I think she just wants to see justice done. She's not trying to drag him through the dirt."