Tags: Religion | kobe bryant | catholic | rape | allegations | settlement | sin

Kobe Bryant: Catholic Priest Changed My Life

the late kobe bryant looks to the left while standing at an en bee ay game
Kobe Bryant (Getty Images)

By    |   Monday, 27 January 2020 08:57 PM

Kobe Bryant, a lifelong Catholic, credited a Catholic priest with changing his life after he faced rape charges in 2003 after a sexual encounter with a woman in a Colorado hotel room, Catholic News Agency reported.

The NBA legend, who died Sunday in a helicopter crash with his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven others, expressed remorse in an apology one year after the accusation, saying he had believed his accuser had slept with him willingly, but after hearing her side of the story came to see he was wrong.

"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," Bryant said at the time. "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."

Talking to a priest is what helped him deal with the situation, Brant told GQ magazine in 2015:

"It was actually kind of funny: He looks at me and says, 'Did you do it?' And I say, 'Of course not.' Then he asks, 'Do you have a good lawyer?' And I'm like, 'Uh, yeah, he's phenomenal.' So then he just said, 'Let it go. Move on. God's not going to give you anything you can't handle, and it's in his hands now. This is something you can't control. So let it go.' And that was the turning point."

The charges eventually were dropped, and Bryant reached an out-of-court settlement with the woman.

"What I came to understand, coming out of Colorado, is that I had to be me, in the place where I was at that moment," Bryant told GQ.

Bryant continued to lean on his faith when his marriage looked like it was going to end. In 2011, his wife, Vanessa, filed for divorce, citing "irreconcilable differences." Kobe Bryant decided to fight for his marriage, and two years later, Vanessa withdrew the divorce petition.

Bryant admitted to GQ he was not going to say "our marriage is perfect, by any stretch of the imagination," but added, "my reputation as an athlete is that I'm extremely determined . . . How could I do that in my professional life if I wasn’t like that in my personal life, when it affects my kids? It wouldn't make any sense."

The Bryants were said to regularly attend an Orange County, California, parish, and social media reports indicated he had attended Mass the morning before he died.

The couple also founded the Kobe & Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation to help youth homeless shelters and others projects aiding the poor.

In 2012, Bryant told the Los Angeles Times that homelessness "is one that kind of gets pushed on the back burner, because it's easy to point the blame at those who are homeless and say, 'Well, you made that bad decision. This is where you are. It's your fault.'

"In life, we all make mistakes, and to stand back and allow someone to live that way and kind of wash your hands of it . . . that's not right," Bryant said.

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Kobe Bryant, a lifelong Catholic, credited a Catholic priest with changing his life after he faced rape charges in 2003 after a sexual encounter with a woman in a Colorado hotel room, Catholic News Agency reports.
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2020-57-27
Monday, 27 January 2020 08:57 PM
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