Local News

Duke President Explains Reinstating Accused Lacrosse Players

Posted January 8, 2007

— Duke University's president said Monday that his decision to reinstate Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann as students in good standing is about fairness.

Seligmann, 20, of Essex Fells, N.J., and Finnerty, 20, of Garden City, N.Y., were invited back to campus last week after rape charges against them were dismissed before Christmas.

The two men left the university last spring after being indicted on charges related to an exotic dancer's claims that three Duke lacrosse players gang-raped, sodomized and beat her.

In an e-mail sent to the Duke community, Brodhead acknowledges that questions about Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong's handling of the case played a role in his decision.

He cites sworn testimony that Nifong did not share test results indicating that no DNA on the accuser matched any lacrosse player's DNA. He also writes that the decision was based on Nifong's dropping the rape charges because the accuser was no longer certain about her claim.

Brodhead acknowledges the pain the university has felt over the case and also acknowledges that the university has some work to do "to restore the fabric of mutual respect" on the campus.

"Though vehemently denied by the players, the accusations that resulted from the party raised deeply troubling questions about sexual violence and racial subjugation ... issues of fundamental concern to any decent community," Brodhead wrote.

The e-mail also reminds the Duke community that the legal system must be allowed to work, that the players are innocent until proven guilty and that the school's integrity must withstand the firestorm.

"We need and deserve for that faith (in the legal process) to be restored," Brodhead said.

Meanwhile, Seligmann has spoken in-depth for the first time about the case since an October "60 Minutes" interview.

In the current issue of Newsweek magazine, he says that he, Finnerty and David Evans, the third suspect in the case, talk regularly and that their mothers are also in close contact.

He also says that even though he misses his friends, classes and playing lacrosse, he has not decided if he will return to Duke, despite last week's invitation.

Seligmann he says he has promised his father that he will not let the investigation ruin his life. He says he has continued his studies at home, has volunteered at a local soup kitchen and has coached football at his former junior high school.

Seligmann also talks about the impact that the case has had on his family. He recalls his father's crying when they learned he was one of the players picked out of a photo lineup and describes the moment he told his mother.

"It was like the life was sucked out of her," he said.

As for the future, Seligmann, having already planned to go to law school, said he is now determined to be a criminal defense attorney.

"I always believed that the truth will trump everything. I have to believe that," he said.

This story is closed for comments.

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  • surferbabe2005 Jan 9, 2007

    too bad reade has a gf :[

  • nascarnutnc Jan 9, 2007

    I can not wait to see the headline "Nyfong Charged"

  • Censor victim Jan 9, 2007

    Duke should be ashamed for the treatment of these boys. The DA should be prosecuted and or disbarred, the stripper(exotic dancer my @#$%) should spend a long time behind bars. Anyone who continues to think these boys are even partially to blame is ignorant and probably believed OJ didn't do it. I hope these boys get rich off this, that is what the so called victim was trying to do. Going after high achievers with deep pockets because she was a low life.

  • dclark Jan 9, 2007

    It's like a slap in the face when Duke speaks about innocent untill proven guilty, AN INSULT TO OUR INTELLIGENCE. Their first response was to suspend the boys, based on public OPINION AND HEARSAY. I think their damage control takes priority over matters of character and ethics. Duke can make all the speaches they want, it will not hide the fact they did as the media and Durham did as a whole, found the boys guilty based on OPINION AND HEARSAY.

  • builder276 Jan 9, 2007

    He did not have to explain doing the right thing. They should never have been suspended. They should be given a metal, since they have not had the hooker killed for what she did

  • inmyopinion3 Jan 9, 2007

    Just more Duke back patting, Duke is full of over privilleged bratts who think those less finically successful than them are there to be taken advantage of. These 3 brats are far from being angels as the collective dukies would have the public believe, I agree they should be allow judicial process but not judicial pardons until the case is over! The case has been managed badly by the DA there is no doubt about that but these three bratts put themselves in the position they are in nobody else.

  • HighRiskCO Jan 9, 2007

    I agree with gnew! Furthermore, Mr. Brodhead should also be made to set aside. His letter to the Duke Community is nothing more then a cover up. He and the Duke administrators are as guilty as Nifong! All involved convicted these kids without a shred of evidence. They were convicted without due process on hearsay. Think about it...These kids lives were ruined by a stripper, by a corrupt DA and by Duke University administration. And now Mr. Brodhead wants everyone to believe that Duke supports these kids! There is such a thing as the Constitution and Bill of Rights. They were thrown in the trash when it came to these students. Enough is enough! Mr. Brodhead should join Mike Nifong and step aside!

  • Josey Wales Jan 9, 2007

    Brodhead is covering his sorry fanny now. Where was he and that lynch mob faculty when the so-called accused needed the " innocent until proven guilty " presumption ?
    Brodhead, if he has any semblance of integrity, should resign and if not, he should be fired immediately.

  • St Ives Jan 9, 2007

    How can this case go forward. The line up was unconstitutional, the proof is well, lets fact it the word of a bumbed out stripper?

  • hondov65 Jan 9, 2007

    I'm wondering if ther is an effort to rehire the coach that was fired, also didn't the female in question lie on the stand? Lives have been ruined here. I have heard no apoligies at the lest.