Local News

Durham settles with wrongly accused Duke lacrosse players

Posted May 16

— Eight years after Durham police arrested three Duke University lacrosse players on sexual assault charges that were later determined to be unfounded, the city and the Durham Police Department have settled a lawsuit with the players.

Under terms of the settlement, Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty and Dave Evans will receive no money. Instead, the city will make a $50,000 grant to the North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission.

Crystal Mangum, who was hired to perform as a stripper at a March 2006 lacrosse team party, accused the three players of attacking her in a bathroom of the house on North Buchanan Street where the party was held. The trio was later indicted on charges of rape, kidnapping and sexual offense.

The case unraveled, however, in the face of Mangum's constantly changing story and a lack of evidence.

The Attorney General's Office eventually took over the case, dropped all charges and declared the players innocent victims of then-Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong's "tragic rush to accuse."

The players sued the city and Nifong in 2007, claiming that the prosecutor and investigators intentionally concealed critical DNA evidence and produced a misleading DNA report.

"As the city has maintained throughout, it believes that its police officers had an obligation to investigate the allegations made by Crystal Mangum in 2006 and that no police officer nor any other city employee engaged in improper conduct," Durham officials said in a statement Friday.

Durham officials noted that Nifong wasn't a city employee and was subsequently disbarred and jailed for his actions in the Duke lacrosse case.

"When Attorney General Roy Cooper announced his decision in April 2007 to dismiss all charges against Mr. Evans, Mr. Seligmann and Mr. Finnerty, and declared them innocent of the charges for which they had been indicted, the city expressed its concurrence in Attorney General Cooper’s decision," the statement reads. "Today, the city reaffirms that it fully concurs with the attorney general’s decision to dismiss the charges and with his conclusion that Mr. Evans, Mr. Seligmann and Mr. Finnerty were innocent of the charges for which they were indicted."

44 Comments

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  • stymieindurham May 16, 7:20 p.m.

    I hope they're not finished with that police sergeant that rushed to judgment the arrests.

  • rduwxboy May 16, 6:58 p.m.

    The only ones they should blame are the accuser (who we have seen was LESS than credible) and their own past that allowed people to believe this kind of behavior was just the next step in the path they were already on based on actions before. -dwntwnboy2.

    Horsefeathers. Nifong saw an opportunity to gain fame and ran with it. I recall your support of him throughout the entire incident. Nifong should be in prison and you should denounce his unprofessional behavior.

  • wa4mjf May 16, 5:45 p.m.

    DPD had a choice in the matter. They could have left with DUPS. The house was in their extra territorial jurisdiction and they were first there. The DUPS Sergeant, who let DPD take over, told them that he thought there was nothing to it, according to press reports of the time.

  • dwr1964 May 16, 5:38 p.m.

    The 3 players were paid $20 million each by Duke.

    — Posted by 'CuseYankee

    So do you have anything to back up your claim? It's not nice to state something "as fact", just to stir up a story.

  • Hill55 May 16, 5:08 p.m.

    Many have commented on the statement signed by the numerous Duke professors. This is a great question to ask Pres Broadhead. Perhaps WRAL will ask him, and especially in light to an overall intolerance being displaced nationwide by college professors.

    Thankfully, Ed Bradley of 60 Minutes and that Duke law professor broke the true story.

  • GovernmentMule May 16, 4:39 p.m.

    Now when will the 40 or so professors who signed that document condemning these young men apologize? The answer is "never". They have ZERO integrity. The men that collect my garbage have more integrity.

  • 'CuseYankee May 16, 4:31 p.m.

    The 3 players were paid $20 million each by Duke.

  • BuglessDuster May 16, 3:57 p.m.

    If the City and its employees did nothing wrong, why spend 50,000.00 of taxpayer money?

  • AliceBToklas May 16, 3:57 p.m.

    There goes the assumption Duke students are somehow smarter than everyone else. They agreed for... View More

    — Posted by huxter72

    Actually, it seems to me that it shows how much integrity they have. Well done fellows to avoid vengeance and get money for a good, and related, cause.

  • Hippy_mom May 16, 3:47 p.m.

    The only reason the public, the DA and press thought this was true is because the Lacrosse... View More

    — Posted by dwntwnboy2

    Past behavior is the best indicator of future behavior...

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