A female employee at a Colorado resort goes to police to file sexual misconduct charges against basketball star Kobe Bryant on July 1, 2003. A few days later, an arrest warrant was issued for Bryant, and the ensuing case generated a media frenzy.
On the night of June 30, 2003, Bryant checked into the Lodge and Spa in Cordillera, located in Edwards, Colorado, near Vail. The 24-year-old Los Angeles Lakers guard was scheduled to have knee surgery the following day. A 19-year-old employee at the resort agreed to show Bryant around and he later invited her to his room. The two reportedly flirted and kissed; however, the accuser claimed that when she decided to leave, Bryant became upset and sexually assaulted her. The following day, July 1, she went to the police to file a complaint. Bryant was questioned by the authorities and provided a DNA sample. On July 3, an arrest warrant was issued for the basketball phenom, who the next day turned himself in to authorities in Eagle County, Colorado, and was released on $25,000 bail. On July 18, with his wife by his side, Bryant held a news conference in which he admitted to having sex with the accuser but maintained it was consensual.
Bryant, who was drafted into the NBA after high school in 1996, went on to play for the Lakers during the 2003-2004 season, but faced intense scrutiny and lost many of his endorsement deals as a result of the rape case. The accuser, whose identity was mistakenly made public as a result of court clerical errors, endured media speculation about her personal life and received death threats.
On September 1, 2004, after jury selection had begun, the district attorney dropped the rape charge against Bryant because the accuser decided not to testify or participate in the trial. In early March 2005, Bryant and the accuser settled her civil lawsuit against him for an undisclosed sum.
Bryant died in a helicopter crash in January 2020. He was 41 years old.