PALESTINE, W.Va. -- Former prisoner of war Jessica Lynch was raped by her Iraqi captors, a new authorized biography of the Army supply clerk says.
The 20-year-old private who was hailed as a hero after her capture and rescue has no memory of the sexual assault, but medical records cited in the book -- "I am a Soldier, Too: The Jessica Lynch Story" -- indicate it occurred.
"Even just the thinking about that, that's too painful," Lynch told Diane Sawyer in an ABC "Primetime" interview set to air on Tuesday, the day the book is due to be released.
The book covers Lynch's ordeal between March 23, when her 507th Maintenance Company convoy was attacked, and her rescue April 1 by US commandos.
"The book does cover the subject" of rape, family spokesman Stephen Goodwin said. "It's a very difficult subject."
Goodwin said Lynch and her family would let the book speak for itself. "It's important to tell the story and let it be known, but she's not going to talk about it anymore," he said.
The 207-page book was written by former New York Times reporter Rick Bragg. Publisher Alfred A. Knopf said it has produced a first printing of 500,000 copies.
In the book, excerpts of which appeared in the New York Daily News yesterday, Bragg writes that Lynch "lost three hours" after her convoy was attacked in Nasiriyah after making a wrong turn.
"She lost them in the snapping bones, in the crash of the Humvee, in the torment her enemies inflicted on her after she was pulled from it," he writes. "The records do not tell whether her captors assaulted her almost lifeless, broken body after she was lifted from the wreckage, or if they assaulted her and then broke her bones into splinters until she was almost dead."
In the ABC interview, Lynch corrected early reports that she fired her rifle to fend off her attackers. She said her weapon jammed and she was unable to fire a single round. She also said she was not slapped while being treated in the hospital.
"I'm not about to take credit for . . . something that I didn't do," Lynch said.