Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Former Duke Players Cleared of All Charges - New York Times

This is not exactly a fraternity story, but is fairly close. At least in the kind of responses it raised when it was first reported.

The Duke lacrosse team players who were accused of rape, 'sexual offenses', and kidnapping have been cleared of all charges. The state attorney general concluded there was no evidence to proceed with a case.
An independent investigation “showed clearly that there is insufficient evidence to proceed,” Roy A. Cooper, the state attorney general, said at a televised news conference. “ We believe these individuals are innocent.”

He said the accounts of the events given by the woman who made the accusations were so inconsistent that they were not credible. “She contradicts herself,” Mr. Cooper said.

The decision brings to an end a 13-month ordeal for the young men, two of whom were dismissed from Duke because of the charges.

David F. Evans, 24, of Annapolis, Md.; Reade W. Seligmann, 21, of Essex Falls, N.J., and Collin Finnerty, 20, of Garden City, N.Y., were initially charged with rape, sexual offense and kidnapping. One of two women hired to strip at the lacrosse team’s spring break party in March 2006 accused them of raping and assaulting her in a bathroom of an off-campus house.

The rape charges were dropped in December, after the woman changed a key detail in the case, saying she could not be sure what had penetrated her when she said she was gang-raped. The woman changed her story after DNA tests showed no traces of DNA from any of the three defendants or any other Duke lacrosse player on her body or clothes, while traces of other male DNA were present.

The case touched nerves of race, sex and privilege, both nationally and in Durham, because the accuser was a poor, black local woman and the students were relatively affluent, white out-of-staters. It also tapped into a debate about the off-the-field behavior of college athletes and the proper role of big-money sports on America’s university campuses.
There is lots more in the linked New York Times article, including a local prosecutor who was trying to win an election off the case, Political correctness gone completely off the rails, "poor black girl" vs. "rich white boys", bungled investigations, a "victim" who could not seem to tell the same story twice in a row, and a complete lack of forensic evidence. This tale has "TV Movie" written all over it.

As former Secretary of Labor Ray Donovan might say, "where do they go to get their reputations back?"

Too bad Don Imus has been gagged. I bet he would have some interesting comments.

Former Duke Players Cleared of All Charges - New York Times