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Woman Sues Cincinnati Bengals, 15 Players, Alleging Gang Rape

April 11, 1992

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) _ A woman sued the Cincinnati Bengals football organization and 15 unidentified players, alleging she was gang-raped at a Seattle hotel in 1990, published reports said today.

The woman claimed in a lawsuit that she was repeatedly raped by the players for two hours while as many as 20 other people watched.

The civil lawsuit, seeking unspecified damages, was filed Friday in King County Superior Court in Seattle, said her lawyer, Richard Eymann. The Spokesman-Review and Spokane Chronicle newspapers carried accounts today quoting the lawyer. They identified the woman only as Victoria C.

The woman said she was raped Oct. 3, 1990, two nights after a National Football League game between the Bengals and the Seattle Seahawks at the Kingdome, the lawsuit stated.

No criminal charges were filed. It was not known if the woman went to the police.

The Bengals’ public relations director, Al Heim, said he had no comment. Sam Wyche, then-coach of the Bengals, told the Tampa Tribune on Friday he had no knowledge of the alleged assault.

The woman, who lived in King County in 1990, was quoted as saying she waited 18 months to file the lawsuit because of players’ repeated efforts to persuade her not to go public with the accusation.

″A substantial amount of investigation went into this matter,″ Eymann was quoted as saying in both newspapers. ″I am very confident the alleged facts will be proven to a jury.″

Eymann was not immediately available for additional comment. His home telephone number is unpublished and there was no answer early Saturday at his Spokane office.

The woman can identify six of the football players she is accusing, the lawsuit states.

Wyche, now coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, told the Tampa Tribune the attack ″never happened, as far as I know.″

He said the team had nightly meetings and bed checks at 11 p.m. He said he found it hard to believe a gang rape involving more than a dozen players could have occurred without his knowledge.

″You can’t keep something like that a secret,″ Wyche said.

James Kidney, a lawyer who has represented sports figures, including Bengals players, said Saturday in an interview with The Associated Press that he knew ″authorities on the West Coast have investigated the case thoroughly, and they found no merit to it at all, no basis for criminal charges.″

″If the case had merit, why didn’t the authorities press charges?″ he said.

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