- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 14, 2003

The 19-year-old woman in Colorado is said to have had “sex with three different men in three days,” which increases the sense of uneasiness with the charge that Kobe Bryant imposed himself on her.

By the logic of the prosecution’s case, the woman had consensual sex with two presumably regular Joes but suddenly became incredibly chaste after showing up in Bryant’s room.

Hmm. Bryant is the fantasy object of lots of women. He is wealthy, famous and sharp looking. Right or wrong, lots of young women would sprint to Bryant’s room if extended an invitation.

That is the way it often works with the painted-up, pretty young things who work their charms in the NBA’s underbelly. They know the score, the score kept by both sides, notably by the late Wilt Chamberlain.

This is not to smear the woman or play the morality card. She apparently has had a number of issues in the last year, starting with two failed suicide attempts. The pace of her sex life could be the least of her problems.

Bryant, though, if convicted, is looking at a prison sentence and a dramatic fall from his previously idyllic life, which lends itself to wanting to know the quality of the woman’s character.

Is she a victim or a mixed-up person who was blinded by the glare of Bryant’s celebrity?

Either way, the prosecutor’s case is sprouting holes.

A retired Eagle County judge, familiar with one of Bryant’s attorneys, has told the New York Daily News: “There was more than one man’s semen found in her panties. That’s what’s behind all this.”

Pam Mackey, Bryant’s lead attorney, would not have opened the window to the woman’s sex life during the preliminary hearing last week if she did not believe in its relevance. She certainly knew she was going to take a beating in the national press, if not offend the judge.

Her tactic is straight out of the kill-the-messenger playbook. The Clinton administration was especially adept at that, no matter how many women came forward to tell their tales of sexual improprieties.

That makes this approach different with the Bryant case. There was no history of wrongdoing on his part before June30, not a hint. There has been no succession of women with secrets to tell on Bryant since June30. There has been nothing, really, except mostly the steady drumbeat of a troubled star.

None of it adds up in simple fashion, not even the version of the woman’s story that came from the detective last week.

It was not what he said.

It was what he did not say.

There was no reference to birth control.

Don’t you think that would have been a concern of Bryant’s? Don’t you think a man, a married man at that, would have posed that question before rolling the pregnancy dice with a person he first met earlier in the day?

Again, by the logic of the prosecution, we are obligated to assume that Bryant just said to heck with it and took his chances.

Then again, for all we know, Bryant did ask the woman the million-dollar question: Are you on the pill?

If so, she could not have relayed that information to the detective, now could she?

That would indicate tacit approval on her part for what followed.

We also might assume she is employing a contraceptive measure, if she is enjoying a robust sex life, as Bryant’s defense team contends.

See how problematic this stuff is?

This is one of the reasons the judge extended the preliminary hearing to today.

There are just too many peculiarities with this case.

Americans tend to want to believe the woman, if only because of the large number of crimes perpetrated against women by a sick portion of the male population. Women go about their everyday functions differently from men because of the predator element in America.

Bryant, though, is not some wacko lurking in Rock Creek Park or a parking garage, looking to grab a woman.

He flashed his Nike-approved smile and invited the woman to his room. That was a mistake, no doubt, but hardly criminal. The woman accepted the invitation. That, too, was a mistake.

Now we are being asked to believe that Bryant was not up to the standards of two other men.

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