Local News

Parents of Duke Lacrosse Players Express Anger at Durham DA

Posted January 15, 2007

— In an interview on "60 Minutes," the parents of the three Duke lacrosse players indicted in connection with an alleged attack on a woman talked about how the case has had an impact on their families.

They directed their anger squarely at Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong.

An exotic dancer claims she was attacked by three members of the Duke lacrosse team at an off-campus party in March. David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann were initially charged with first-degree rape, first-degree kidnapping and first-degree sexual offense in the case.

In December, Nifong dropped rape charges after the alleged victim said she could not say for certain whether she was raped.

"Every mother of a son in this country should be scared to death that this was so easy to perpetrate," said Kathy Seligmann, Reade Seligmann's mother.

Rae Evans, David Evans' mother, said she believes Nifong's relentless pursuit of the three players was politically motivated.

"This is about a man who chose to use a troubled young woman's story of fantastic lies to advance his own political career, which was crumbling," she said. "He needed something big. He needed that magic bullet and he shot it and he shot it right at our sons."

On Friday, Nifong recused himself from the case. Two special prosecutors with the state Attorney General's Office will take over. Among the thousands of documents they will review is the report of a forensic expert hired by Nifong.

Dr. Brian Meehan, of DNA Security, said he made a mistake by not stating in his report that he found DNA on the accuser from others who were not lacrosse players.

"In retrospect, I know there was a better way, and I should have done a better job of relaying that information," he said.

According to "60 Minutes," the organization that accredits forensic labs has launched an investigation into DNA Security. WRAL was unable to reach Nifong for his response.

In addition, "60 Minutes," said the alleged victim has a long psychiatric history.

The Finnertys and Seligmanns said an invitation for their sons to return to school was too little too late. They said it would be hard to send their children back to a place where the leaders did not support them.

Duke University did not comment on the families' statements.

This story is closed for comments.

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  • clickclackity2 Jan 15, 2007

    Have we forgotten 1 or 2 of these men already had assault charges in another state? Why are you calling them kids? They're not kids. They're grown MEN! Also, the people in the community of the house complained numerous times about their rowdy and disrespectful behaviors. You display this type of behavior, suffer the consequences. These men could of killed someone and you can rest assure that their parents will still be there fighting tooth and nail to clear their name. Also, racism begins in the home (911 tape). Fortunately, they're well off and can afford the fight. I think they have idiot lawyers. I believe some sort of assault did occur. Unfortunately, the woman also needs to suffer the consequences. Her actions (pregnant right after incident) alone, says things about her credibility. I say both sides call it even and walk away. Nifong tried. It's just both parties made horrible decisions.

  • bgcoving Jan 15, 2007

    The problem here is that we are co-opting the judicial system by trying cases in the media. Granted, Nifong screwed up, he may not have a case, but once he went public he effectively gave carte blanche to the defense to outspend him in media buys. I would truly be interested in knowing how much money the defendents families are spending to get their precious darlings off...and how many billable hours the lawyers are racking up for media consultation.

    If the palyers had been black and from NCCU and the dancer had been white, do you think this would be playing out the same way in the media? I don't think so. Money and privilege determine innocence or guilt....

  • mihrie Jan 15, 2007

    I find this entire case very troubling. Why does the race card get thrown out there by certain Duke professors, NCCU professors, and the Durham County DA (dumb ass would be an appropriate interpretation in this case). If I am not mistaken, this is a HATE CRIME. This time it is being exposed and the victims are all white. Do you think any hate crime charges will be brought against any of these guilty parties that I mentioned before? I am sure Duke will guard their ignorant and racist liberal profressors. Would they do such if they were white.

    Martin Luther King wanted a day when we would be judged by our conduct and character and not by the color of our skin. I guess the liberals only think this is applied when it is in their limited scope of existence.

    Pray for the students and this disturbed girl, but why not tear apart the people who tore this community apart based on race and lies. Duke should fire each professor that acted against these Duke students.

  • HighRiskCO Jan 15, 2007

    I cannot believe how narrow minded some of the responses are here. If by chance something did happen to this stripper, we will never know. And to condem the 3 Duke students for charges of First Degree Rape, First Degree Kidnapping, etc. because you are appauld at the idea of underage drinking or urinating in public is so narrow minded there isn't a word to describe it. The main issue now is that Nifong ruined not only the stripper, not only the students at Duke, but also the Justice System. How could he possibly continue to prosecute cases? Every case would have a resonable doubt. Hopefully the AG will end this fiasco and that Nifong will be accountable for this injustice on both sides.

  • coreyforbes Jan 15, 2007

    I didn't believe the accuser from day one. Her life is about street and hustle. So, the players need to SUE her, and the City. She needs to pay up for trying to use her race and bogus " single mom" status to grip media attention.

  • blueridgelab Jan 15, 2007

    Isn't America great! Godless, vulgar, crass, shameless, prideful, selfish, arrogant,
    promiscuous, greedy, violent and hateful... just a microcosm of our culture and society. No moral compass.

    And, we wonder why we are a laughing stock in the world today. Dr. King had a moral compass that pointed him in the right direction. His strong faith and belief in Christ .

  • trojandnc Jan 15, 2007

    The parents have every right to be upset over what has happened. This is, indeed a travestey. However, what about the hundreds of other times something similar to this happens and the parents don't have enough money or clout to get not one, but two, 60-minute segments?

    I've personally been in the same boat as the players and unfortunately this crap goes on every day in our so-called "justice" system. One has to wonder how "justice" can ever be served when one side of the scale(police and DA) get their promotions based solely on convictions not whether or not the person did it. The other side is hired to get people off whether or not they did it.

    Nifong is an imbicile but was just doing what all other DA's do. Just ask Nancy Grace of Court TV how many times she went before the ethics board in GA while she was DA.

  • spiritwarriorwoman Jan 15, 2007

    These boys, their teammates and their coach were all tried and convicted before any evidence had ever been gathered, first by this DA, and then by Duke who disbanded the team. Guilty until proven innocent is not the American way. These players and their coach should receive an apology and should all be reinstated without prejudice. Am praying for them.
    God bless.

  • vivavars Jan 15, 2007

    I would be more impressed by these parents if they stated they were also appalled by the conduct of their sons and had demanded these young men forever remove all racial slurs from their vocabulary. These men acted like jerks--why the surprise when they get treated like jerks??

  • Mungo Jan 15, 2007

    The sad thing is that justice cannot take place here at all now. Whether or not something happened no longer matters because of how Nifong AND the media turned and twisted the case.

    You are innocent until the media finds enough evidence to make things questionable.

    Oh - and never let an afternoon at the movies replace a real history class.