I remembered this accusation of sexual abuse of then NBA player Kevin Johnson 20 years ago. The case against Johnson was dropped. Johnson was never charged. And there was a settlement with the teen. What I didn’t know is a police video resurfaced last year of the teen’s interview with the police and the police report. What is interesting is that former NBA player and current Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson is up for reelection. Johnson announced last year that he will not seek a third term as mayor. He is the story from Deadspin of Mandi Koba:
Today, Kevin Johnson is mayor of Sacramento, Calif., and Mandi Koba is a mother of three and an advocate for survivors of sexual abuse. Only they know what happened between them in the summer of 1995, when she was 16 and he was a star guard for the Phoenix Suns, and each has a different version of events.
Koba’s recollections of what happened with Johnson, whom she met when she was 15, have been circulating for years in the form of a police report that includes a transcript of the questioning she was given by Detective Art Smith of the Phoenix Police Department in 1996. You can read that report in fullhere. In it, she describes Johnson lying naked with her, fondling her breasts and vagina, lathering soap on her in the shower, brushing his penis against her, and asking her to pray to God for forgiveness with him and promise not to tell anyone about what they’d done.
There’s long been talk of an artifact of those sessions far more appalling than a .pdf file, though. The police report says that the interview with Koba “was both audio and video taped”—though she now says the police never told her she was on camera—and according to sources in Sacramento, there have been whispers about a video version of her interview with the police ever since Johnson started his first campaign for mayor in 2008.
As it turns out, the rumors weren’t just rumors. Video was taken. Earlier this week, Deadspin obtained a rare copy of Koba’s interview with Phoenix police from 1996. The lengthy video can be watched in full here; a brief clip from it is at the top of this post, and excerpts can be found below.
Koba, now 36, recently told Deadspin exactly what she told police 19 years ago: That she met Johnson when she was 15 and he was at the height of his career as the Phoenix Suns’s All-Star point guard, and that shortly thereafter, he began sexually abusing her. After Koba’s story appeared on Deadspin, Johnson gave what seems like a blanket denial to a Sacramento reporter.
“It’s very unfortunate,” Johnson told the local ABC affiliate. “Something happened 20 years ago and it’s not true. You just got to move on, that’s just part of the territory.”
And the settlement for the Ms. Koba by Johnson?:
A detail from what Mandi Koba asserts is an unsigned copy of a 1997 agreement between her and Kevin Johnson; a fully executed version, she says, remains in a safe deposit box.
Mandi Koba asserts that Kevin Johnson paid precisely $230,600 for her silence.
This is the figure you get when you add up the numbers on the first page of what she presents as an unsigned copy of their agreement that she got from her lawyer when he retired. (It tracks the $230,000 figure reported in theSacramento Bee in 2008.) While this document played a pivotal role in her life, Koba didn’t know the total amount off the top of her head, because legal fees, a payment to her mother, and hefty health care costs from mental injuries she attributes to what Johnson did to her ate into the sad windfall. Her original payment was $59,000, with another $91,918.24 put into a trust in her name.
And of course Johnson announced in October of last year that he will not seek 3rd term in office as Mayor:
Johnson announced in October that he would not seek a third term as mayor. Although he said he made that decision months earlier, the speech arrived during a crescendo of public scrutiny over past sexual allegations.
Those allegations threatened to continue dogging Johnson if he stayed in political office. But returning to the private or nonprofit sector would enable Johnson to avoid much of that public scrutiny, said local political consultants.
Ironically, the police video with Ms. Koba surfaced on Deadspin website on 10/8/15. Oh, how the past comes back to haunt Kevin Johnson.