INDIANAPOLIS -- Prosecutors who helped convict Mike Tyson on rape charges said they hoped the case will send a message to all professional athletes and date rape victims.
'I can't speak to boxing,' special prosecutor Greg Garrison said Monday night after Tyson's conviction. 'I will say on a broader scale, professional athletics has been allowed to become such a mega-god that it no longer is responsive to the morality that is the basic fabric to communities that are represented by folks like the ones in this jury.
'A superstar ... can brag about it in his books and talk about it in the public eye. This time that kind of behavior has not been allowed.'
When asked if Tyson convicted himself, Garrison said, 'Criminals always convict themselves.'
Garrison said Tyson's celebrity was an obstacle for the prosecution, but he stressed how important the former heavyweight champion's accuser was to the case.
Garrison said the jury was sold on 'that beautiful 18-year-old kid with a pure heart. She came in somber and quiet and pretty confident. It sounds a lot like so much hot air, but this is a very very special young woman.'
Jeffrey Modisett, the Marion County prosecutor who hired Garrison as the lead prosector in the case, said he hoped Tyson's conviction will prompt other victims to press charges.
'We hope it would encourage women to come forward,' Modisett said. 'Our greatest hope is that they see the process works now.'
Modisett said he thought Tyson's victim, a Miss Black America contestant, would hold a news conference to discuss the case. Deputy prosecutor Barbara Trathen said she did not expect the woman to file a civil lawsuit against Tyson.
Garrison also came to the defense of Moira Lasch, who prosecuted the case in which William Kennedy Smith was acquitted of rape charges last December in West Palm Beach, Fla. He said Lasch was criticized unfairly and did not get a conviction because the case lacked strong evidence.
Modisett said one of the keys to the case was nobody corroborated Tyson's story, while the accuser's account was backed by the woman who drove the boxer's limousine during his stay in Indianapolis from July 17-19.
'The one person who could have corroborated Mr. Tyson, theoretically, was his bodyguard (Dale Edwards) and he never testified,' Modisett said.
Garrison sounded as if he regretted the defense's decision not to put Edwards on the stand.
'We were looking real forward to talk to him,' Garrison said.