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Cross-examination reveals inconsistencies

Sheila Flynn | Thursday, August 28, 2003

SOUTH BEND – The defense attorney for former Notre Dame football player Abram Elam cross-examined his 22-year-old accuser Wednesday, pointing out several inconsistencies in her statements and testimony about the alleged sexual assault incident.

Elam is charged with conspiracy to commit rape, criminal deviate conduct and sexual battery in connection with a March 28, 2002 incident at a tri-level house on Warrick Street.

During defense attorney Mark Lenyo’s questioning, the alleged victim – who was a 20-year-old Notre Dame student at the time of the incident – admitted she had consumed alcohol while taking two prescription medications, disregarding the instructions on the bottles. She said she drank three mixed drinks and several sips of beer, prompting Lenyo to question her written statement that she was “100 percent sober” on the night of the incident.

The woman also said she had not intended to inform either the University or the police of the events, but her parents contacted the Notre Dame administration after she told her family what had happened.

The University, she said, specifically advised her not to go to the police. The four players were expelled after a 2002 ResLife hearing, nearly two weeks before charges were formally filed in the middle of May.

The woman who has accused Elam and three other former Notre Dame football players of sexual assault spent more than eight hours on the stand over two days.

Bill Kirk, associate vice president for Residence Life and Housing, testified Tuesday, the first day of the trial. So did other friends and family members of the woman.

The prosecution’s witness list includes 20 names, including the other three former players – Lorenzo Crawford, Donald Dykes and Justin Smith – involved in the incident. Judge Roland Chamblee, Jr. told jurors to expect the case to last until at least Saturday.

Elam is the only one of the four defendants not charged with rape. Crawford, Dykes and Smith are charged with rape, criminal deviate conduct and sexual battery. All have maintained their innocence, claiming the sexual activity was consensual.

Jury selection is scheduled to begin for Dykes’ trial Sept. 8. Crawford’s trial is scheduled to start in October and Smith’s in November.

The Associated Press and WNDU contributed to this report.