S_knight8@hotm 2007-08-07 06:38:24
EAGLE, Colo. – Her Eagle Valley Senior High classmates know her as a
former varsity cheerleader, a national anthem singer, a piano player
and a friend. She is popular and well-liked, tall, blond and talented.
Suddenly, shockingly, they now know her as the accuser, the victim.
The two reportedly met at the $625-a-night Lodge and Spa at Cordillera
10 days ago. The woman’s identity is being withheld by The Orange
County Register because of the nature of the allegations.
The woman reported on July 1 that Bryant, 24, of Newport Coast,
Calif., had sexually assaulted her a day earlier at the Lodge.
“She’s not backing off (the story),” Eagle County Sheriff Joe Hoy
said. “She’s holding up quite well.”
Until Wednesday, the victim’s identity was a secret. Details, however,
emerged that clued in locals, her schoolmates and her tight-lipped
co-workers at the Lodge, who have been told they will be terminated if
But the younger seasonal staff were starstruck by Bryant, who was said
to have been playing chess with his bodyguards and drinking Gatorade
in the recesses of lobby on the night of the alleged attack.
Hoy said police interviewed Bryant about the alleged crime at the
Lodge around 11 p.m. July 1.
A Hotel Colorado desk clerk gave The Register a copy of the hotel bill
bearing the name of Bryant’s bodyguard, Troy Laster, which had him
checking in at 4:15 a.m.
“He (Laster) said he needed a room for a client of his who just got
out of surgery,” Heather Williams, 28, said. “He said he needed to be
discreet, to use a back door so he could get in and out without being
Back in Eagle, a town of 4,000, the accuser returned home Wednesday
after taking a trip with her family to the Northwest. She and her
family declined comment and remained secluded in their two-story home
on a hilltop cul-de-sac.
A sullen-eyed man answered the door and politely referred questions to
“She’s doing OK, considering the circumstances,” Hurlbert said.
Hoy said that the accuser was receiving counseling through the police
department’s victim assistance program.
Cindi Holcomb, a next-door neighbor, said, “There’s never been any
wild parties. Nothing. She comes from a close-knit family. I think
she’s terrified (by what happened).”
Gutierrez spoke highly of the schoolmate he remembers as a cheerleader
who stood atop a homecoming parade float and played the piano “very
“She was a nice girl and close to her music teacher,” he said. “She
had no reason to lie about this.”
He, like everyone, wants to know the truth.
“I thought she was a really quiet person,” said Dolores Gomez, 16, an
Eagle Valley junior and a neighbor. “This can happen to anyone. I just
can’t believe that it happened here.”