PALESTINE, W.Va. – Former prisoner of war Jessica Lynch (search) 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 (search) convoy was attacked, and her rescue April 1 by U.S. commandos.
"The book does cover the subject" of rape, family spokesman Stephen Goodwin told The Associated Press. "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 (search). 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 on Thursday, Bragg writes that Lynch "lost three hours" after her convoy was attacked in Nasiriyah (search) 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."
Lorene Cumbridge, a 63-year-old cousin of Lynch's, said the book's revelations were upsetting.
"We all said God knows what she went through over there and this might not be all of it," Cumbridge said. "You can hear that speculation but to see it in print and to know it's fact, it hurts."
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. "But that may have been Lori [Piestewa] that fought fiercely till her death. You know, that may have been her. But that wasn't me, and I'm not taking credit for it."
Piestewa was killed in the convoy attack.
Mohammed al-Rehaief, the Iraqi lawyer credited with helping to save Lynch, has said he went to U.S. Marines after seeing her being slapped in the hospital.
"I don't remember that ever happening," Lynch said. "From the time I woke up in the hospital, no one beat me, no one slapped me, no one, nothing. ... I mean, I actually had one nurse, that she would sing to me."
Jeff Coplon, who co-wrote al-Rehaief's book, "Each Life is Precious," said that both Lynch and al-Rehaief could be right: "He could have seen her slapped and she could have no memory of it."
Lynch is on disability and is recovering from her injuries in her hometown of Palestine. She plans to marry Army Sgt. Ruben Contreras in June.
Bragg has written several books, including the memoir "All Over but the Shoutin'," and won the Pulitzer Prize for feature writing in 1996 while at the Times.
He resigned from the Times in May after the newspaper suspended him over a story that carried his byline but was reported largely by a freelancer.