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Herald/Globe: Walker To Stand Trial In Rape Suit





                                [The Boston Globe Online][Boston.com]
                                [Boston Globe Online / Metro | Region]

                             

                                Renewed suit: Walker failed to stop rape

                                By Shelley Murphy, Globe Staff, 10/06/99

                                A federal appeals court has
                                reinstated a lawsuit that was
                                filed against Boston Celtics forward
                                Antoine Walker by a woman who alleges he
                                was negligent for failing to stop three
                                friends from raping her inside his Waltham
                                home two years ago.

                                The claim against Walker by an
                                unidentified woman had been dismissed last
                                year by a federal judge who concluded
                                Walker had no duty under Massachusetts law
                                to stop the alleged gang rape.

                                But in a ruling handed down Monday, the US
                                Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
                                said state law isn't clear about a host's
                                legal duty to protect guests in his home
                                and the lower court needed to gather more
                                facts before deciding the fate of the case
                                against Walker.

                                The Appeals Court said the judge must find
                                out whether there is evidence that Walker
                                knew the woman was being raped and could
                                have stopped the attack without risking
                                his own safety, yet chose to do nothing.

                                ''If Walker were a passerby who ignored a
                                stranger in peril, this would be an easy
                                case,'' wrote Appeals Court Judge Michael
                                Boudin, noting that under American law
                                there is no duty to come to the aid of
                                someone in trouble.

                                But Boudin wrote, ''The common law duties
                                of a property owner toward a guest
                                generally include an obligation to take
                                reasonable care to provide a safe
                                premises, including warnings to the guest
                                as to dangers of which the host knows or
                                should know.''

                                The woman said she dated Walker several
                                times, then after socializing with Walker,
                                his two roommates, and two former
                                teammates - Ronald Mercer and Chauncey
                                Billups - at a Boston comedy club on Nov.
                                9, 1997, the men invited her back to
                                Walker's home.

                                After arriving at the Waltham condominium,
                                the woman said, she was raped by Mercer,
                                Billups, and Walker's roommate, Michael
                                Irvin. A medical examination performed at
                                Boston Medical Center the next day
                                revealed bruises on the woman's body and
                                injuries to her throat, cervix, and
                                rectum, according to the Appeals Court
                                decision.

                                The woman said Walker walked in on the
                                alleged attack in Irvin's bedroom, and
                                Irvin asked Walker, ''Don't you want
                                some?'' The woman said Walker declined and
                                left.

                                No criminal charges were filed. The woman
                                filed her civil lawsuit under seal in
                                April 1998 against Mercer and Billups, who
                                currently play for the Denver Nuggets,
                                Irvin and Walker. US District Judge
                                Richard G. Stearns dismissed the claim
                                against Walker in December.

                                Attorney Nicholas C. Theodorou of Foley,
                                Hoag & Eliot, who represents Walker, said,
                                ''The allegations against Antoine are
                                without merit. Although disappointed in
                                the court's ruling, Antoine Walker is
                                prepared to vigorously defend this case.
                                Mere allegations have been made, and we
                                are confident that as the evidence
                                develops Antoine will prevail.''

                                Attorney Margaret Burnham of Burnham &
                                Hines, who represents the woman who filed
                                the lawsuit, said, ''I think she'll be
                                gratified that she will have an
                                opportunity to have her day in court with
                                respect to Mr. Walker.''

                                Burnham added, ''A host is not in the same
                                position as a bystander on the street who
                                observes a crime. If the host is in a
                                position to observe criminal conduct and
                                to take measures to prevent it, then the
                                host has a duty to act.''

                                Boudin sent the case back to Stearns for
                                more hearings, noting, ''The legal issue
                                presented is one that has important social
                                and moral implications, and we decline to
                                decide it without more facts.''

                                This story ran on page B02 of the Boston
                                Globe on 10/06/99.
                                 Copyright 1999 Globe Newspaper Company.

                          


                                [The Boston Globe Online][Boston.com]
                                [Boston Globe Online / Metro | Region]

                                [ Send this story to a friend | Easy-print
                                      version | Add to Daily User ]

                                Renewed suit: Walker failed to stop rape

                                By Shelley Murphy, Globe Staff, 10/06/99

                                 [Image]federal appeals court has
                                        reinstated a lawsuit that was
                                filed against Boston Celtics forward
                                Antoine Walker by a woman who alleges he
                                was negligent for failing to stop three
                                friends from raping her inside his Waltham
                                home two years ago.

                                The claim against Walker by an
                                unidentified woman had been dismissed last
                                year by a federal judge who concluded
                                Walker had no duty under Massachusetts law
                                to stop the alleged gang rape.

                                But in a ruling handed down Monday, the US
                                Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
                                said state law isn't clear about a host's
                                legal duty to protect guests in his home
                                and the lower court needed to gather more
                                facts before deciding the fate of the case
                                against Walker.

                                The Appeals Court said the judge must find
                                out whether there is evidence that Walker
                                knew the woman was being raped and could
                                have stopped the attack without risking
                                his own safety, yet chose to do nothing.

                                ''If Walker were a passerby who ignored a
                                stranger in peril, this would be an easy
                                case,'' wrote Appeals Court Judge Michael
                                Boudin, noting that under American law
                                there is no duty to come to the aid of
                                someone in trouble.

                                But Boudin wrote, ''The common law duties
                                of a property owner toward a guest
                                generally include an obligation to take
                                reasonable care to provide a safe
                                premises, including warnings to the guest
                                as to dangers of which the host knows or
                                should know.''

                                The woman said she dated Walker several
                                times, then after socializing with Walker,
                                his two roommates, and two former
                                teammates - Ronald Mercer and Chauncey
                                Billups - at a Boston comedy club on Nov.
                                9, 1997, the men invited her back to
                                Walker's home.

                                After arriving at the Waltham condominium,
                                the woman said, she was raped by Mercer,
                                Billups, and Walker's roommate, Michael
                                Irvin. A medical examination performed at
                                Boston Medical Center the next day
                                revealed bruises on the woman's body and
                                injuries to her throat, cervix, and
                                rectum, according to the Appeals Court
                                decision.

                                The woman said Walker walked in on the
                                alleged attack in Irvin's bedroom, and
                                Irvin asked Walker, ''Don't you want
                                some?'' The woman said Walker declined and
                                left.

                                No criminal charges were filed. The woman
                                filed her civil lawsuit under seal in
                                April 1998 against Mercer and Billups, who
                                currently play for the Denver Nuggets,
                                Irvin and Walker. US District Judge
                                Richard G. Stearns dismissed the claim
                                against Walker in December.

                                Attorney Nicholas C. Theodorou of Foley,
                                Hoag & Eliot, who represents Walker, said,
                                ''The allegations against Antoine are
                                without merit. Although disappointed in
                                the court's ruling, Antoine Walker is
                                prepared to vigorously defend this case.
                                Mere allegations have been made, and we
                                are confident that as the evidence
                                develops Antoine will prevail.''

                                Attorney Margaret Burnham of Burnham &
                                Hines, who represents the woman who filed
                                the lawsuit, said, ''I think she'll be
                                gratified that she will have an
                                opportunity to have her day in court with
                                respect to Mr. Walker.''

                                Burnham added, ''A host is not in the same
                                position as a bystander on the street who
                                observes a crime. If the host is in a
                                position to observe criminal conduct and
                                to take measures to prevent it, then the
                                host has a duty to act.''

                                Boudin sent the case back to Stearns for
                                more hearings, noting, ''The legal issue
                                presented is one that has important social
                                and moral implications, and we decline to
                                decide it without more facts.''

                                This story ran on page B02 of the Boston
                                Globe on 10/06/99.
                                 Copyright 1999 Globe Newspaper Company.

                                [ Send this story to a friend | Easy-print
                                      version | Add to Daily User ]