By Amy Silverman
By Olivia LaVecchia
By Monica Alonzo and Stephen Lemons
By Chris Parker
By Michael Lacey
By Weston Phippen
Finally, the summer of '95 ended. Johnson went off to training camp, and he saw Kim rarely after the NBA season began.
"Things got kind of weird . . . ," Kim said of their infrequent meetings during the 1995-96 season. "Before, he would always [be] kind of touchy-feely, not like sexual, but kind of hug me or whatever. Afterwards, he just seemed really distant."
By early 1996, Kim Adams' psychological problems--which predated her introduction to Kevin Johnson--overwhelmed her.
Kevin Johnson's attorneys claim he was the one who suggested she seek professional help. What molester do you know, Fred Hiestand asks rhetorically, who would insist that his victim get counseling?
Kim was hospitalized at a behavioral health center for two weeks that April with severe depression and anorexia, an eating disorder. She contemplated suicide. It was during this time, Kim told detective Smith a few months later, that Johnson "started becoming really interested in me again. He went over to my house a couple of times and talked to my mom and he'd call my mom to see how I'm doing."
After Kim was released from the hospital in mid-April 1996, she told police, she returned to Johnson's home for the first time in months:
"He came and picked me up . . . and he helped me to figure out what I would take for one of my classes."
Nothing untoward happened during those tutoring sessions, the girl stated. During that time, Kim said, she and Johnson drove to a park for a heart-to-heart:
"He wanted to challenge me, like we wanted to challenge each other with each thing that was the hardest for us. For me, it would be eating . . . he said the thing he was having the most problems with was sex, because he said that he didn't want to have sex. We didn't really get into it because I said that I wasn't ready at the time to make an honest challenge of anybody."
Kim started counseling around this time with therapist Kristan Larson.
"I first met an extremely guarded, very suspicious young woman whose anxiety was sky-high," Larson says of Kim. "It was obvious from the start that KJ was extremely important to her. He was the one person, she said, who knew everything about her. He was a guy who was going to put her through school and always be there for her, a supportive relationship. Everything I had heard about him was he was a great guy.
"Then I found out she had a secret, a pinky promise--his thing to bond them together. He was her mentor, and there was something wrong. But I don't believe in forcing confessions from people, so I let her talk at her own speed. She had lost friends, was distant from her family. I didn't suspect sex at first."
Larson's case notes indicate she did suspect sex as early as last July 1:
"Patient reports that [Johnson] is calling her and her family asking her about what she is doing in treatment. She has spoken with him--he told her she has his permission to share whatever she needs to in treatment. Patient hinting that relationship is more than platonic--afraid of repercussions."
Arizona law requires therapists and other personnel with "reasonable grounds to believe that a minor is or has been the victim of . . . sexual abuse" to "immediately report or cause reports to be made" to police or to the state's Child Protective Services agency.
But Larson says Kim had only hinted that there had been sexual acts, so Larson didn't feel compelled to report until she learned more.
Instead, according to police reports, Larson spoke twice to Johnson before notifying authorities about Kim's allegations.
Larson told detective Smith last July 19 that during the first conversation, "[Johnson] basically said, 'Oh, yeah, I care for [Kim], what's best for her, give her anything she needs. I'll do anything for her.' It was superficial and there was not a lot to it."
According to police reports, Larson again spoke with Johnson a few days later:
"I said, 'You know, you wanted to be a part of her treatment, and you said you'd be willing to do anything. She's got something that she said has occurred between you and her and she is uncomfortable talking to me about the details, and I'd be wondering if you would be willing to do that.' And he said, 'Well, what do you know?' I said, 'I don't know a lot. There was some kind of interaction between you two which she found very distressing, and she described as sexual in nature . . .'
"He said, 'Well, yeah, there was an incident that occurred numerous months ago, and it was one incident and I apologized to her and I was just trying to comfort her when she was distressed about something.' . . . I said, 'Well, her perception was that it was a sexual contact.' He said, 'Well, define "sexual,"' and he said it was along the lines of a hug."
Adds Larson in an interview last week with New Times: "It sounded so bizarre. I tried to get him to be more specific, and he kept changing the subject. He said he'd be praying for us."