The Summer of '95

A teenage girl tells police Kevin Johnson won her confidence, then took advantage of her. While her allegations are open to question, there are many questions about KJ's behavior.

Scott told the attorneys that he, too, had become friendly with Johnson--"We would go out and play basketball a few times, and then we started getting together and having breakfast . . . just Kevin and I."

He said his friendship with Kim had ended months earlier for unspecified reasons. Scott said Kim hadn't told him of any sexual activity between her and Johnson until just before he went, at Kim's request, to meet with her therapist Kristan Larson.

That session occurred in late August 1996, shortly after the Phoenix police case had stalled.

"I don't even remember how [Kim] put it," Scott told Johnson's attorneys, "but they had sex, something sexually happened between them and he really screwed her up. . . . And so we [Scott and Larson] went in there and we talked. I mean, Kristan talked most of the time for [Kim], just talking about how Kevin and Kim had some sexual contact, you know, oral sex . . . and that [Kim] had a lot of problems [that] came out from that and that's why I was there, to give support for her."

The mention of "oral sex" is puzzling: Neither Larson nor Kim ever mentions it--not to the police, not in case notes, not to attorneys and not to New Times. If this were a conspiracy to falsely accuse someone, wouldn't Larson have noted the mention of oral sex somewhere, anywhere?

"I follow the thinking on that," Scott says. "I'm just saying I heard that."
Kimerer asked Scott, "Now, you didn't feel you were being sent there [to meet with Larson] to try to get Kevin Johnson or anything. Did you get that impression?"

"Once I got there."
Scott said that some time before the meeting with Larson, Kim had told him she and Johnson had engaged in sexual intercourse.

"Would you say that [Kim] is a person that you believe has a reputation for kind of stretching the truth a lot?" Kimerer asked him.

"Yes, oh yes. Very."
Larson tells New Times she's disappointed by Scott's view of Kim's veracity and of his account of the therapy session: "It's not how it happened, and I feel badly for [Kim] that he is betraying her."

In late January, the Phoenix police finally sent the case to the Maricopa County Attorney's Office for evaluation. The prosecutor assigned was Bill Amato, a member of that agency's felony sex-crimes unit. Within a few weeks, according to office spokesman Bill FitzGerald, Amato and his supervisors concluded the case against Johnson didn't cut it as a felony.

In the demand letter, Kim Adams' attorney wrote to Johnson:
"[Amato] told me that the county wanted more independent corroboration of sexual misconduct before prosecution. He simply did not think they had sufficient evidence to convict you of a felony, although he did think there was sufficient evidence to convict you of a misdemeanor for contributing to the delinquency of a minor."

However, FitzGerald says that appraisal is wrong.
"Bill [Amato] did talk to the girl's attorney," he says, "but that comment about a misdemeanor conviction is not accurate. Bill did not say whether the case was good, bad or indifferent. He didn't put a quality to it. We sent the case back to the police department, and whatever they did with it is their business."

Phoenix sex-crimes sergeant Russ Wilson says his agency did send the case to the City of Phoenix Prosecutor's Office for consideration as a misdemeanor. Wilson says city prosecutors also decided not to file charges.

If Kevin Johnson sticks to his pledge and retires from the NBA, he'll have left behind a ton of memories for Phoenix Suns fans--nearly all of them pleasant.

In the not-too-distant future, his number 7 certainly will join other luminaries hanging from the rafters at America West Arena.

Long after the recent Seattle series is forgotten, true-blue fans will recall KJ's gravity-defying dunk over Hakeem Olajuwon, the hundreds of Houdinilike assists to Tom Chambers, Charles Barkley, Dan Majerle and dozens of other teammates, his 21 consecutive free throws in the heartbreaking Game 7 loss in 1994-95 to Houston, his herculean effort in the famed triple-overtime game against the Chicago Bulls in the 1993 NBA Finals.

Now, Johnson faces another huge challenge--in the court of public opinion.
Fred Hiestand wants the public to know that his client is a normal guy who hasn't done anything wrong:

"I can say that he's a healthy, red-blooded, American male, and he hopes to find the right wife and settle down," Hiestand says. "There are lots of women who are [adults] who are sending him their photos, tape recordings and letters. . . . If he was interested in any kind of sexual action, he had a lot more attractive offers than [Kim]."

Hiestand says Kim's allegations "put a damper on" all the good things Johnson has done. "Up to now, everything had worked out well for Kevin," he says. "Now, everybody's going to be looking with a jaundiced eye. He's going to have to make changes in his lifestyle.

". . . In the future, what he should probably do is have every kid screened by a psychologist, and if they look like they're deeply disturbed, [he] shouldn't help them," Hiestand concludes.

New Times spoke briefly with Kim Adams last week--she came to the office with her therapist, Kristan Larson.

"All you have to do is to tell me the truth," a reporter told her.
"I am telling the truth," she replied. "Even if it hurts.

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