Rapist Convicted on Victim's Testimony

ByABC News
August 28, 2003, 2:12 PM

B U E N A  V I S T A, Colo., Aug. 28 -- As Kobe Bryant's defense team prepares for an Oct. 9 preliminary hearing, the case of a young man serving a minimum of 16 years in prison in another acquaintance rape case illustrates the kind of future he could face if convicted under Colorado law.

He was a 19-year-old scholarship student at the University of Denver when the incident occurred. He has since been convicted and sent to prison to serve a minimum sentence of 16 years.

His friend, he said, invited him up to her dormitory room to share drinks and marijuana. They later had intercourse.

Three years later, the young man whose name we are withholding at his request and to protect the victim's privacy is now 22 and a convicted rapist, serving his sentence at the state prison in Buena Vista.

The woman accused him of raping her. He said it was consensual; she said it was forced.

Sound familiar?

The case, which relied heavily on testimony, could illustrate a difficult road ahead for Bryant, who is charged with sexual assault for allegedly raping a 19-year-old woman who worked in a Colorado hotel where he was staying. Bryant says he had sex with the woman, but insists it was consensual.

In an exclusive prison room interview, the young man convicted of rape maintains he is innocent. "We were engaged in sexual intercourse, that's all," he said.

When asked if he raped her, he said no, he didn't.

When asked if she, at any point, told him to stop, he said, "No." He claims there was no substantial physical evidence in his case.

Victims Testimony Convinced Jurors

In fact, the prosecutor of the case says there was physical evidence.

As in the Bryant case, vaginal tearing was part of the evidence submitted in the young man's trial. But, according to the prosecutor, the physical evidence proved to be less critical in his conviction.

Karen Steinhauser, who prosecuted the case, says jurors she interviewed after the trial said it was the victim's testimony that was most convincing.