Basketball Star Kobe Bryant Is Accused of Rape Summary

  • Last updated on November 11, 2022

Professional basketball player Kobe Bryant was accused of sexually assaulting a nineteen-year-old concierge at a hotel resort. He denied the accusation and claimed that the sexual encounter was consensual. The prosecution dropped the criminal charges after the accuser, Katelyn Faber, refused to testify on grounds that her sexual history would fuel further media attention. Faber filed a civil suit against Bryant and settled out of court for an undisclosed amount of money.

Summary of Event

Professional basketball player Kobe Bryant, an All-Star guard with the Los Angeles Lakers Los Angeles Lakers, was accused on July 1, 2003, of sexually assaulting Katelyn Faber, a nineteen-year-old concierge at a hotel resort in Edwards, Colorado. Bryant had been in Colorado for scheduled knee surgery at the Steadman-Hawkins Clinic in Vail. He checked into the Lodge and Spa at Cordillera, a hotel in Edwards, on June 28. [kw]Basketball Star Kobe Bryant Is Accused of Rape (July 1, 2003) [kw]Bryant Is Accused of Rape, Basketball Star Kobe (July 1, 2003) [kw]Rape, Basketball Star Kobe Bryant Is Accused of (July 1, 2003) Basketball;professional National Basketball Association;Kobe Bryant[Bryant] Rape;and Kobe Bryant[Bryant] Bryant, Kobe Faber, Katelyn Basketball;Kobe Bryant[Bryant] Basketball;professional National Basketball Association;Kobe Bryant[Bryant] Rape;and Kobe Bryant[Bryant] Bryant, Kobe Faber, Katelyn Basketball;Kobe Bryant[Bryant] [g]United States;July 1, 2003: Basketball Star Kobe Bryant Is Accused of Rape[03310] [c]Law and the courts;July 1, 2003: Basketball Star Kobe Bryant Is Accused of Rape[03310] [c]Public morals;July 1, 2003: Basketball Star Kobe Bryant Is Accused of Rape[03310] [c]Publishing and journalism;July 1, 2003: Basketball Star Kobe Bryant Is Accused of Rape[03310] Bryant, Vanessa

According to Faber, who remained anonymous throughout the criminal investigation and most of the legal proceedings, Bryant invited her to his room after she gave him a tour of the hotel on the night of July 1, the day before his surgery. She told investigators that she and Bryant flirted with each other and that the flirting led to consensual kissing. She said the kissing led to unwanted groping and that Bryant blocked her exit when she tried to leave the room. She then said that Bryant physically restrained her over a chair and placed his hands around her neck, suggesting strangulation if she resisted. She stated that Bryant then began to penetrate her sexually and that she requested several times that he stop. Faber said that Bryant continued with the sexual assault and tightened his grasp around her neck each time she asked him to stop.

Faber then told investigators that she left the room immediately after the assault and remained at the hotel until the end of her work shift. Her coworkers offered conflicting reports of her demeanor following the incident. One coworker stated that Faber did not appear to be distraught; another coworker told authorities that Faber told him that she had been sexually assaulted. That coworker said that he advised Faber to tell her parents.

The twenty-four-year-old Bryant already was a National Basketball Association veteran and would win the league’s Most Valuable Player award for the 2007-2008 season. At the time of the allegations, he was married to Vanessa Bryant and had one daughter. (The couple had a second daughter in 2006.) On July 2, Bryant had his knee surgery as scheduled. On that same day, Faber told authorities at the Eagle County Sheriff’s Department that she had been sexually assaulted by Bryant. Faber’s allegations were Video evidence videotaped by investigators. During the interview at the sheriff’s station, Faber stated that Bryant used physical force to restrain her during nonconsensual sexual intercourse and that Bryant told her not to tell anyone about the sexual encounter. After her interview with police officials, Faber went to Vail Valley Medical Center for rape-kit testing.

The sheriff’s office interviewed Bryant, also on July 2. Bryant told investigators that the sexual encounter with Faber was consensual and added that his wife would be upset upon learning of the allegations. Bryant’s legal defense team tried, without success, to have the interview removed as evidence because it was obtained without Bryant’s knowledge. On July 4, the Eagle County sheriff issued an arrest warrant for Bryant for felony assault. Already home in Los Angeles, Bryant returned to Colorado. Upon his arrest, he posted a bond of twenty-five thousand dollars and was released the same day. On July 18, Bryant was charged with felony sexual assault. He consistently denied the rape accusation, claimed the sex with Faber was consensual, and added that he was guilty of adultery only. He made several public appearances with Vanessa, including a tearful press conference in Los Angeles on the day he was formally charged.

Faber’s sexual history was brought to light after medical tests concluded that her underwear was stained with the DNA of two men other than Bryant. The Colorado rape shield statute, which disallows the presentation of the sexual history of an alleged rape victim during legal proceedings, did not protect Faber in this instance. Her sexual contact with other men around the time of the alleged assault by Bryant was admitted as evidence for the defense. The defense argued that Faber’s physical injuries were consistent with having intercourse on more than one occasion in a short period of time.

Prosecutors claimed in the months before trial that Bryant’s attorneys were attempting to damage Faber’s credibility. In addition, she was subjected to physical threats and faced unrelenting media scrutiny. The media eventually identified her by name. Furthermore, the transcripts of a closed-session hearing were mistakenly released to the media by a court reporter. The court issued an order to try to prevent the transcripts from being released to the public. Several media organizations claimed that because the transcripts were released accidentally and, thus, were obtained through no fault of their own, they were protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and could release the information to the public. The Colorado Supreme Court ruled in favor of the court on July 19, 2004, but on August 2, the judge in the Bryant case decided to allow the media to publish the transcripts.

Kobe Bryant being searched upon entering the Eagle County, Colorado, courthouse in May, 2004.

(AP/Wide World Photos)

After months of preparation by prosecutors and defense attorneys, Faber told her attorneys that she would not testify in court, leading the prosecution to drop the criminal charges against Bryant on September 1. The following day, Bryant issued a statement, apologizing to Faber and her family for the pain they have endured through the months of the case.

Before the criminal charges were dropped, Faber had filed a civil suit against Bryant, on August 10, and the two settled out of court in March, 2005. The conditions of the settlement were not disclosed.

Impact

Early in his career, Bryant was an intelligent and well-spoken role model to millions of sports fans. The sexual-assault scandal is now a part of his image and it follows him everywhere. Basketball fans around the United States continue to verbally taunt him in the venues of opposing teams. His MVP award in 2008 matters little to his detractors. However, his supportive fans seemed to have forgiven him for the scandal.

The accusations of rape, nevertheless, stunned American sports fans and others as well, and the accompanying media affair led many to call for a reexamination of sports “heroes.” The infatuation with celebrity resulted in intense media presence at each phase of the case, a case filled with reports of infidelity and marked by public disgrace and disappointment. It featured a battle of words between victim’s rights groups and a powerful sports world that supports its stars at all costs. Through it all, Bryant remains a “most valuable” star, and Faber remains all but forgotten. Basketball;professional National Basketball Association;Kobe Bryant[Bryant] Rape;and Kobe Bryant[Bryant] Bryant, Kobe Faber, Katelyn Basketball;Kobe Bryant[Bryant]

Further Reading
  • citation-type="booksimple"

    xlink:type="simple">Corliss, R. “Say It Ain’t So Kobe.” Time, July 28, 2003. A popular national magazine article that explores the circumstances that led to Bryant’s arrest and the criminal charge against him.
  • citation-type="booksimple"

    xlink:type="simple">Gibeaut, J. “Celebrity Justice.” ABA Journal 91, no. 1 (2005): 42-49. This American Bar Association journal article discusses the fascination with celebrity and how it influences the justice system.
  • citation-type="booksimple"

    xlink:type="simple">Kirtley, J. “Gag the Press.” American Journalism Review 26, no. 5 (2004). This journal article addresses the issue of First Amendment rights and media access.
  • citation-type="booksimple"

    xlink:type="simple">Sarche, J. “Bryant Case Moving Forward, sans Headlines, Hearing Looms.” Vail Daily, January 25, 2005. This local-newspaper article provides a chronology of the events, from the time of the alleged assault to civil court proceedings.

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