The woman, a 21-year-old junior at the University of Maryland, wiped her eyes with one hand and held a friend's hand with the other as she spoke. In the weeks immediately after she accused Maryland basketball player Herman Veal of making sexual advances to her, "I was a mess," she said. "I went through every form of depression you can go through.
"I had conjunctivitis in both eyes. All sorts of things happened last semester," said the woman, who has requested anonymity. "Now, I don't know if I have it in me to go through it again, to live through it again. I'm just so drained."
The woman, speaking in her dorm apartment late Thursday night, said she had hoped the incident, for her, was over when Veal was placed on disciplinary probation and assigned to do 24 hours of "community service" by the university. Up to that point, the process had been handled in secrecy, as are all student disciplinary proceedings.
Then, she said, came three calls last Saturday from Maryland Basketball Coach Lefty Driesell, whom she said was trying to pressure her into withdrawing her charges against Veal. Her subsequent report of the alleged calls to university police and her appeal to the campus' student legal aid office have brought publicity. "My whole world has been shattered again," she said.
Yesterday, Driesell, in Atlanta for the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament, said he did not threaten her and would not comment on whether he even had called the woman. Veal has declined to comment publicly.
It started, she said, the night of Oct. 5, when she went to visit Pete Holbert and Mark Fothergill, both basketball players, in their dorm room. Also present was their roommate and teammate, Veal, whom, she said, "I barely knew . . . I had never talked to him."
"We (all four) were together for about an hour prior to the incident," she said. After the hour-long visit, she said, "Mark and Pete were going to walk me home. Herman had already gone to his bedroom. They walked out the door . . . I forgot my pocketbook so I turned to get it and the door had closed (behind Fothergill and Holbert). The next thing I knew, Herman came up behind me and threw me over his shoulder and carried me back to his room and threw me on the bed."
At that point, the woman alleges, Veal tried to make sexual advances to her. Immediately, she said, "I screamed and Mark and Pete came back in to the room. Pete stayed with Herman, pulled him off me and stayed with Herman, and Mark kind of dragged me out of the room and took me home."
In Atlanta, where the Terrapins were playing Georgia Tech, Holbert and Fothergill disputed the woman's statement. Holbert said he "wanted to go through it point by point to show the lies, but I've been told not to say anything. I probably shouldn't have said this much."
Fothergill called the woman's version "a bunch of lies."
Earlier in the day, responding to similar denials by the two published in the Baltimore Sun, the woman said she is not surprised by such remarks by two men she said she was close to.
"Basketball is thicker than water," she said. But, "I've reorganized my friendships since."
The day after the alleged incident, the woman said, "I was in contact with university police. I did not go to them until the day after. I wrote up a statement on Oct. 7."
She said that the university police had photographs of her back, which she claimed was badly bruised and sore for days after the incident. Yesterday, a detective with the police department, Wally King, said, "There were some photos," but that "one was taken by a friend" of the woman.
The police declined further comment, saying federal law prohibits discussing students' records.
The woman said she sought and received counseling in the intervening weeks.
Other than that, "nothing happened" until a closed hearing before the university's Residence Board on Dec. 6 (because the allegation said that the incident occurred in a dorm, the Residence Board would be the first step in the review process). That board, sources have said, ruled in her favor and passed its recommended penalty along to Gary Pavela, director of judicial programs.
Sources said Pavela sent the recommendation back to the board, suggesting it be strengthened. What was imposed on Jan. 7 was probation for Veal, which would result in athletic ineligibility until after the fall semester of 1983 (the middle of next December) and 24 hours of "community service."
The next step was to the Appellate Board. The case was heard and a ruling handed down some weeks later. She said she can't remember exactly when. Sources say the ruling simply upheld the earlier decision and punishment.
There was another step, to William Thomas, vice chancellor for student affairs. On March 4, sources have said, Thomas upheld the punishment and it took effect: Veal was immediately ineligible.
The next morning at 9:30, "I received a call from Coach Driesell," the woman said. "It woke me up. The first phone call, he was saying to me, 'How could you do this to me? Don't you know what tomorrow is?' (It was the day of Maryland's final regular-season game, against Virginia.)
"I didn't know what he was talking about. I did not get a letter saying that the appeal was finished. . . After the phone call, I realized that something must have gone on and I called the police department."
There were two more calls from Driesell, she said, applying pressure on her to withdraw her complaint against Veal. "The second phone call, I hung up on him and the third phone call I refused to speak with him and had someone else say hello and . . . (that I) would not like to talk any longer and if you have any other questions please contact Gary Pavela."
She said she cannot remember all of what Driesell said, that the calls did "scare me." But one thing she said she can recall: "My name would be dragged through the mud is what he said to me."
Told yesterday that Driesell had denied pressuring her, the woman again was emphatic that Driesell called and that "everything he says exerts pressure." The calls, she said, reopened the nightmare for her. She said she had hoped that her part in it was over. "(Before the call) I just thought they'd say, 'Here's your sentence' to Herman and he'd sit out if he had to and that it'd never come back to me. I never expected it to come back to me."
So she was stunned, she said, by the calls from Driesell, whom she said had never called previously "to get my side, to find out what had happened."
"I still can't believe he did it . . . I kept saying to myself, 'How can he do this to me? Doesn't he know what I've gone through already?' "
She said the Veal incident is over, as far as she is concerned. "I don't hate him or anything," she said.
But she says she is frightened. She has received threatening, anonymous phone calls (fueled perhaps, it has been suggested, because she is white and Veal is black) and has been told by friends that innuendoes and "blatant lies" about her personal life and life style, about her life at Clemson (where she was a student until transferring three semesters ago) are being told on campus. She does not know who is responsible, she said.
Manning Lomax, assistant vice president for student affairs at Clemson, said he knew of no disciplinary problem involving the woman at his school.
She fears the talk--"I don't know what they're saying, I have a feeling I don't want to know," she said.
"I'm afraid to walk on campus."
Where to now? She will stay at Maryland, she said. She and her attorney, William Salmond, the director of Maryland's student legal aid office, are hoping to meet with Chancellor John B. Slaughter about her allegations against Driesell.
She wants two things: "an apology (and) to be left alone."