Local News

Support For Alleged Rape Victim Continues At N.C. Central

Posted April 17, 2006

— For the second day, dozens of students marched on the North Carolina Central University campus Tuesday to make a statement against racism and sexual violence.

They came out to show their support for a N.C. Central student who claimed she was gang-raped, sodomized and beaten for 30 minutes by three Duke University lacrosse athletes.

The woman, who is black, told Durham police that she was hired as an exotic dancer for an off-campus party on the night of March 13. There are also claims that some lacrosse athletes directed racial slurs at her and another woman who had also been hired to dance at the party.

No one has yet been charged in the case, which has resulted in almost daily protests and rallies at Duke's campus and in the neighborhood where the party took place.

Monday marked the first day that the public gathered at N.C. Central in regard to the allegations. Nearly 250 people attended a rally outside a dormitory, where about two dozen speakers urged participants to demand justice in the case while allowing police investigators to finish their work.

A State Bureau of Investigation crime lab is expected to complete its analysis of DNA samples taken from 46 of the lacrosse team's 47 players this week. The 47th member, who is black, did not provide a sample because the woman said her attackers were white.

Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong has said he does not plan to release the DNA test results when they return from the lab, adding that April 10 would be the earliest any possible charges would be filed. He has said that he believes a sexual assault occurred and that he will look at other evidence if the DNA results are inconclusive.

The president of North Carolina's chapter of the National Association of the Advancement of Colored People, the Rev. William Barber II, has asked to meet with Nifong, having said his group will keep watch of the investigation.

"Our position as an organization whose mission is civil rights and community justice is that the investigation of the allegations are fair, meticulous, comprehensive, aggressive and thorough," Barber said in a statement. He did not immediately return calls from The Associated Press seeking further comment Tuesday evening.

Defense attorneys for the lacrosse athletes have said their clients are innocent.

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