Nine years ago today on July 1, 2003, iconic Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant was arrested and charged with sexually assaulting 19-year-old hotel employee Katelyn Faber at The Lodge and Spa at Cordillera in Eagle County, Colorado.
The then 24-year-old Bryant, who was taken out of Lower Merion High School by the Charlotte Hornets with the13th overall pick in the 1996 NBA Draft, was released on a $25,000 bond on Independence Day.
Bryant, a 14-time All-Star and the 2008 Most Valuable Player, admitted having sex with Faber and committing adultery on his wife, Vanessa Laine.
However, the native of Philadelphia, who faced life behind bars if convicted, adamantly claimed the teenager consented to having intercourse.
Bryant, a 10-time All-NBA First Team selection voted the second preeminent shooting guard in NBA history behind only Michael Jordan in an ESPN poll of sportswriters in 2007, was immediately vilified in the press and soon many of his lucrative endorsement contracts were terminated.
The defense team for the Lakers superstar went on the offensive and attempted to destroy Faber’s character.
Bryant’s lawyers revealed that the yellow panties the accuser wore to her rape exam contained a Caucasian man’s semen and pubic hair.
In graphic detail, the two-time NBA Finals MVP explained how he bent Faber over a chair to penetrate her and only stopped to ejaculate on her face.
On September 1, 2004, after 14-months, and in excess of $200,000 spent preparing for trial, Eagle County District Judge Terry Ruckriegle dismissed the sexual assault charge against Bryant after the alleged victim refused to testify in court.
Shortly thereafter, the five-time NBA champion released the below statement publicly apologizing to Faber.
“Although I truly believe this encounter between us was consensual, I recognize now that she did not and does not view this incident the same way I did. After months of reviewing discovery, listening to her attorney, and even her testimony in person, I now understand how she feels that she did not consent to this encounter.”
Faber subsequently settled a civil lawsuit against the famed basketball hero outside of the courtroom.
Despite not being found guilty of an illegal act, and continuing to thrive on the hardwood, Kobe Bryant will never entirely overcome the summertime incident nearly a decade ago that forever marred his image.by