Bad Rap?

Girls plan to sue over alleged "sexual abuse" that occurred onstage during a concert

However, Phoenix resident and hip-hop fan Travis Mowry, 25, says Vega's and Adamson's descriptions are inaccurate. Mowry says he had a clear view of the stage, and that both girls were onstage at the same time, that neither of them was pulled up by her hair or pushed by the crowd--"They crawled up on their own"--and that the girls were "sitting on the stage for at least a few minutes, swaying with the music and having a good time."

Mowry says he turned to get a drink just before the girls left the stage. "I heard a reaction from the crowd and turned back to see what was going on and they were already gone," he says. "Whatever happened, it was really quick." Once Vega and Adamson were back in the crowd, Mowry says, he saw them exchanging celebratory high-fives with several people.

A set of notes on the Onyx case that Mahoney inadvertently left behind after his news conference reads in part that "the young women protested immediately to security and called for police."

On the contrary, says Vega, she and Adamson didn't decide to contact the police until they left Electric Ballroom after the concert and saw Tempe police Officer Stephen Laird in the parking lot. (Laird was there to investigate a hit-and-run accident.) At the urging of a friend, Vega says she contacted the officer and filed a report. After interviewing the girls and Ellis, Laird asked Electric Ballroom co-owner Torgeson where Scruggs and Jones were staying and, about an hour later, placed them under arrest.

According to Laird's report, Scruggs and Jones were "messy" and "tired" when he interviewed them at their Tempe hotel. The rappers both initially denied any contact with the girls, then said they had merely given them autographs, then stopped answering questions. Scruggs and Jones are currently on tour and, according to their management, are unavailable for comment.

When Vega and Adamson were contacted by police the day after the concert, both said they had decided not to press charges. Vega says she and her friend thought they would have to pay to hire a prosecutor.

"I didn't understand how it worked," she says. "Now we're pressing charges. That's mainly what I want to do more than the lawsuit."

Vega says she hired Mahoney on the advice of an aunt who used to work in the offices of Van O'Steen and Partners, the attorney's firm. "I am not just trying to get money," she says. "I'm doing this to get back my respect. People are saying, 'Oh, she's so stupid, she wanted to do that,' but that's not the kind of person I am."

Tempe police forwarded the reinstated charges against Scruggs and Jones to the Maricopa County Attorney's Office on March 1. A spokesman for the county attorney says the case has been sent back to Tempe police for additional investigation.

And although Mahoney said at the February 16 news conference that he intended to file the lawsuit within three days, he had not done so by March 8. Mahoney said the delay was because of problems pinpointing Scruggs and Jones' legal residence in New Jersey.

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