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Utah Rape Case Involving NBA Player Fizzles

Utah Rape Case Involving NBA Player Fizzles

Posted - May 27, 2003 at 6:04 p.m.



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Jill Atwood Reporting...After months of investigating, the Salt Lake County District Attorney's office has decided NOT to press rape charges against an NBA basketball player.

Washington Wizard's player Jahidi White was accused of raping a woman after a February game against the Utah Jazz.

The District Attorney says there just wasn't enough evidence to prosecute Jahidi White. They are not saying the two didn't have intercourse; they’re saying they can't prove she didn't consent to it.

There are only two people that know exactly what happened inside a Grand America Hotel room last February: Wizard's Forward Jahidi White, and a woman from Magna. Therein lies the challenge for prosecutors in a case where one side says “rape,” and the other says, “consensual sex.”

Kent Morgan/Deputy District Attorney: "YOU HAVE TO LOOK AT THE DEGREE TO WHICH THE PERSON PLACE THEMSELVES IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES...UH THAT CERTAINLY WAS DISPOSITIVE."

In this particular case the woman admits she drank heavily with White and some friends at a local club, and went willingly back to his hotel. But, she claims, that's where the consent ended.

Police reports show she told officer she passed out, and was awakened when she felt her head hit the headboard of the bed. She says White was forcing himself on her, and she told him to stop, but he continued.

Hours later, on advice from a friend, the woman went to Cottonwood hospital for an examination. Soon after she filed a police report.

Prosecutors admit she did all the right things, but later discovered some statements made in her police report just didn't pan out. They also say witnesses there that night didn't back her story, which ultimately killed her case.

Kent Morgan/Deputy District Attorney: "CONSENT AS YOU KNOW IS A VERY TENUOUS CONCEPT AND WE DONT LOOK AT IT FROM THE SUSPECT'S POINT OF VIEW. WE LOOK AT IT FROM THE VICTIM'S POINT OF VIEW. AND IF LOOKING AT ALL OF THOSE CIRCUMSTANCES WE CAN HONESTLY SAY THAT A JURY HAD CONCLUDED THAT SHE HAD NOT CONSENTED WE'D FILE THE CASE. WITHOUT CORROBORATION THERE IS NO CASE."

Prosecutors will tell you the difficulty in prosecuting rape cases is it's a crime that happens in private. There are usually no witnesses and it all boils down to he-said, she-said.

As a postscript, KSL did attempted to contact Jahidi White's local attorney today, but did not receive a returned call.

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