A local man accused of rape by a high school friend recently took his case national by appearing on the Dr. the Dr. Phil Show.

Former East Henderson High School football player James “Matt” Bishop and three of his fellow players, Tyler Scott Garren, Justin Ponder and Vincent Joseph Curto were accused of second degree rape in December 2012.

On Sept. 12 and 13 Bishop appeared on the Dr. Phil Show accompanied by his parents, Diane and Mark Bishop. The two-part special also featured the alleged victim, as well as other guests relating to date rape.

While on the show Bishop admitted to being intoxicated with Garren, Ponder, Curto and the alleged victim. Bishop and his parents maintain that the sex was consensual, even initiated by the the girl.

“Around 10 p.m. the girl took me by my hand downstairs where she unbuttoned my pants. After I had sex with her, she kept on asking for more, and I couldn’t give any more so around 10:30, I went upstairs and I told them that she kept on saying that she wanted more,” Bishop said. “And that’s when Wesley went downstairs. When he came back upstairs, he had the same response that I did, saying that she kept on asking for more and more. I was in a daze, about to go to bed, pretty much passed out and all I know is Tyler went downstairs.”

Dr. Phil McGraw, a television personality, author, psychologist and the host of the television show, did not comment on Bishop’s guilt or innocence related to the rape charges,  but said he believed Bishop made bad decisions.

“Number one, you’re committing a crime: being in possession and consuming alcohol, and two, you set up a scenario that is fraught with danger,” McGraw said. ”So can we agree that you did do some things wrong that night?”

Later in the episode McGraw interviewed the alleged victim who admitted that she had had past sexual relations with Bishop, but she came to the party under the pretense that there would be other girls.

“I told them I was going back downstairs, that I was going to leave this and when I went downstairs, I ended up on the ground and I don’t really know how,” the alleged victim said. “And when I was on the ground, they just kind of started taking off my clothes again. And Vinny (Curto) stuck his hand down my pants. I tried to stop, but I couldn’t move.”

The show drew mixed reactions from the student body ranging from those who hoped it would uncover the truth to concerns as to how it would portray the Henderson County area.

“The stories don’t connect in my opinion. To be honest with you, I am surprised that the issue left North Carolina,” freshman Garret Baker said.

Baker and sophomore James Murray both said they were surprised at the level of publicity the case has received.

“I thought it was kind of weird for it to be something so close to home. I didn’t know him (Bishop) at all, but it is strange how it is on national television,” Murray said.

Many students have taken sides after hearing both Bishop and the victim on the two episodes.

“I can see it from both sides, but I can see more from the girl’s side,” junior Sandra Nuw said.

Bishop’s parents also claimed his innocence even going so far as to say the alleged victim was the one who should be charged with rape since “she ruined his life.”

“I feel that both sides are lying, but I think that the episode judged too harshly. She was kind of overstepping the boundaries of what actually happened,” senior Shelby Barton said.

A trial date for the four teens has been set for Nov. 12 in Henderson County Superior Court.

6 Responses

  1. Anonymous

    I too watched the show. My opinion is the boys really didn’t think of it as “rape” seeing she was sexually active and just thought of it as a good time. Plus they were all drunk so why can she get off for being drunk and the boys can’t. I wish Matt would have said he was sorry for what happened and didn’t think it would have led to what it did. But seemed to blame her. Maybe his mother harped at him. Didn’t like her points of view. I would have convicted him on her remarks. Dad your a police officer, say your son was wrong and should have been a man and protected her but not to conclude it was gang rape.

  2. Jenn

    Honestly I caught a chance to see this show on Dr Phil and I’m so disgusted!!!! These boys raped this girl! They are horrible excuses for “men”. I honestly don’t know why we aren’t calling them that. They were all standing around her in their underwear, so I doubt highly she was like yeah guys sure run a train on me. Completely disgusting how these men lied about what happened. Sans how each of their parents defended what their sons did. I don’t know how they can live with themselves. Obviously I pray the same shit never happens to their daughters or their sisters. I mean god knows they will blame the victim!!! Outraged still. All these years later.

    • Anonymous

      How do you know what she did or didn’t want… Was you there? Just because you think something is totally wrong and disgusting ” a train ” doesn’t mean other girls wouldnt like experiencing it or just like doing it. It simply happens a lot. Some girls love to have sex with the popular boys in school. She had sex with the Matt boy several times before already, and couldn’t wait to have sex with the Tyler boy.. The only people who know exactly what happened that night are the boys and the girl.. She became embarrassed as soon as the whole high school found out about it and that’s when she started the lies.. Trying to protect whatever reputation she had left..

      • Jennifer

        Your an ass. Victim blame much? Just because she had prior sexual relations does not mean he couldn’t rape her. And the girl was passed out, proven in photos!! And they ALL pled guilty and did time. Your pathetic and I pray you don’t have a girl that gets assaulted…I see how you would treat her

        Also his mother on the show was disgusting.

      • Anonymous

        His mother wasn’t there either but she acted like she was.

      • Unknown

        I completely agree about Matthew’s mother and being disgusting. She is blaming the girl for wanting the attention. What kind of mother excuses her son for being drunk and tell other boys about it. The way she acts plus the father being a police officer, tells the kind of parents they are. The mother blaming the girl with 4 boys. She “chose” as she says. She was beyond drunk and couldn’t be aware of her decision. She says, why is the girl not being accused of rape? SHAME on Diane for portraying that type of mother. What kind of a human being acts that way especially on Dr. Phil. The father being a police officer, he shouldn’t be because he doesn’t make a good example of holding the badge of the law.

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