OAKLAND, Calif. — The woman who brought a lawsuit accusing NBA star Derrick Rose and two others of gang rape is leading two drastically different lives.
She is the central figure identified only as “Jane Doe” in a made-for-tabloid case replete with unsavory details about the sexual relationship she had with one of pro basketball’s biggest names and the night she says he and his two friends sexually assaulted her when she was passed out.
And she is a 30-year-old college student whose family knows nothing about her involvement with Rose or the lawsuit, which seeks $21.5 million. Keeping her Mexican immigrant parents, siblings and many nieces and nephews in the dark is critically important to her and gets harder as the Oct. 4 trial date looms with more attention focused on the case.
“They have a sense something’s wrong, but there’s no way I can express to them or explain to them how I feel or what I’m going through,” the woman told The Associated Press in her first media interview. “Having to think of alternative ways to communicate that pain is very stressful and it takes a lot out of you.”
While she seeks to maintain her anonymity so she can continue a life out of the spotlight, Rose’s attorneys want her name made public, believing it will help expose her as a fraud. So far a judge has agreed her identity can be kept secret but a hearing Monday could change that.
“This is not a rape case. It’s pure and simple extortion by a plaintiff who wants to hide behind the cloak of anonymity while seeking millions in damages from a celebrity with whom she was in a long-term, non-exclusive consensual sexual relationship,” Rose’s lawyers wrote in a court filing in Los Angeles, where the case is being handled in U.S. District Court.
Stakes are high for Rose, who was traded to the Knicks this offseason. A former MVP with his hometown Chicago Bulls, he is looking to return to his All-Star level in a city that is often unforgiving for big-time athletes who don’t live up to expectations.
The trial’s scheduled Oct. 4 start also is Rose’s 28th birthday and coincides with the early part of the NBA preseason. The last place Rose wants to be is in a cross-country courtroom listening to testimony about his sex life when he could be in New York working out with his new teammates.
Even if he prevails in this case, the embarrassing, public details could damage his reputation and marketability. Both sides acknowledge a settlement remains a possibility.
The woman alleges Rose and two other men gang-raped her at her home in the early morning hours of Aug. 27, 2013, forcing their way in after she drank so much she vomited and later blacked out. Rose and the defense claim she let them inside her apartment and willingly had sex.
Someone who is overly intoxicated cannot legally consent to sex and the woman says she was in no condition to provide affirmation for Rose, who she had dated for nearly two years, let alone the two men with him: close friends and co-defendants Ryan Allen and Randall Hampton.
“As soon as I woke up, I was dressed, I had my dress on from the previous night and I never go to sleep with what I’m wearing. I always prepare myself first to go to sleep,” the woman said during the interview in Oakland, a couple of hours from where she grew up in Northern California. “So I had the dress and it was up on my neck and I felt very wet and slippery. There was lubricant all over my bed and on my legs. Everything was tossed in my bed. There was a condom wrapper and a closed one not used.
“That was just shocking to see all that, almost like I didn’t want to believe it.”
Rose’s defense team said her roommate was home and nearby the entire night and never testified to being concerned her friend was in distress. Rose’s legal filings contend he and his friends had no idea the woman was severely drunk, and say she personally let them into the apartment and her bedroom.
Lawyers for Rose may also call a former co-worker who said the woman was bragging about having sex with the NBA star hours after the alleged rape.
“The salacious allegations of a woman who is now on a media tour — who also claims to not remember much from that night — do not change what transpired that evening, which was consensual intercourse between Mr. Rose and the plaintiff,” attorney Mark Baute wrote in a statement to the AP.
The case comes amid heightened attention on sexual assaults involving incapacitated women, driven by several high-profile cases.
Ex-Stanford swimmer Brock Turner was sentenced to just a six-month jail term for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman, sparking public outcry over the punishment. Bill Cosby is fighting allegations by dozens of women who say he drugged and sexually abused them.
Last month, former NFL All-Pro safety Darren Sharper was sentenced to more than 18 years in federal prison after he pleaded no contest to charges he drugged and raped women in four states.
In Rose’s case, there are no criminal charges or threat of jail — the woman didn’t report the incident to police for two years and they determined there was not sufficient evidence to forward to the district attorney for possible prosecution.
But there are endorsements that could be lost and a reputation damaged for him and the Knicks. Rose is set to begin the final year of his contract.
He and the alleged victim met in the glitz of a Hollywood party he hosted in 2011, the year he won league MVP honors. Both sides agree the relationship was long-running and involved consensual sex. She said she cared deeply for Rose, and they communicated regularly via Skype or by phone, and saw each other when he came to California. She also took a trip to see him in Chicago.
In August 2013, Rose was in Southern California rehabbing a knee injury and she was working in Los Angeles. They partied at Rose’s rental house the night of Aug. 26 and then she went home after consuming vodka, wine and tequila. The men showed up several hours later.
She said she remembers nothing while Rose’s side said she was alert after intercourse and even cleaned up her room.
After they had left, she said she rushed to the shower but didn’t even feel the sensation of the water she was in such shock.
“I felt just dirty,” she said. “... Like I didn’t want to believe it was true.”
Rose’s attorneys question why she didn’t immediately report the alleged rape to police or get examined at a hospital. They say she went to police only after she “failed at multiple attempts to get money from Mr. Rose.”
The woman said she showed up late for work and was in no condition emotionally to talk to police or seek treatment, though she said a concerned co-worker she had told about her condition upon waking up encouraged her to go to the authorities and even called a lawyer on her behalf. Her right hand was in pain from burning it the previous night at Rose’s home, and it had begun to blister. The co-worker is scheduled to be a witness.
“I didn’t want to tell anyone what happened. I didn’t want nobody to know,” she said. “I wanted to erase the fact that I woke up the way I did. I only told him because it was almost necessary for me the way I walked in. I felt like I wasn’t going to be able to do the job for that day.”
She did reach out to Rose via text message. He wouldn’t answer her questions about the specifics of what had happened, she said.
The woman believes she has been unfairly painted as promiscuous, disputing Rose’s side claiming she had sex with other NBA players.
Brandon Anand, one of her attorneys, said Rose’s legal team is using a “campaign of harassment” to try to intimidate her.
“It’s been that way from Day 1,” Anand said. “It’s been very aggressive. There have been threats to leak her name to the public, attempts to depose her parents, who they know very well have no knowledge of this.”
The woman is the youngest child from a large, conservative and religious family from Mexico. If her parents learn the truth, she fears devastating the entire family.
“They already have very traditional cultural expectations of me,” she said.
The woman hopes that by winning her case and maintaining her anonymity, she can empower other women.
“I want to share my story so women can know that they are able to come forward and remain anonymous and not to have to have the burden or the worry that their loved ones will find out,” she said.
As the case plays out, she continues going to school in San Francisco during the week and returning to her family on weekends. The independent life far from home that she once dreamed of no longer seems important because “everything I had fought for was kind of the reason I had been in this situation, because I wanted to be so independent and prove myself to my family.”
“It made me understand why women feel the need to have someone by their side that is able to protect them and able to keep them safe,” she said. “... Now, I just want to be closer to home.”