Local News

1 Year Later, All is Quiet in Duke Lacrosse Case

Posted March 13, 2007

— Nearly a year ago, the public outcry surrounding the Duke University lacrosse sexual assault case was deafening.

Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong rarely seemed to turn down an interview. Defense attorneys for the three indicted players held impromptu news conferences on the courthouse steps. And an outraged community spoke out before a national audience.

These days though, the district attorney, the defense and the community are keeping relatively quiet.

"I think people are just ready for it to be over," Durham Mayor Bill Bell said Tuesday, on the anniversary of an off-campus party in which the accuser, a 28-year-old exotic dancer, alleged that three players locked her in a bathroom and attacked her.

The players, Reade Seligmann, 21, Collin Finnerty, 20, and David Evans, 23, were each indicted on charges of first-degree rape, sexual assault and kidnapping. All three men denied the charges -- and speaking publicly on the day of his arrest, Evans called them "fantastic lies."

Months later, Nifong dropped the rape charges after the accuser wavered in key details of her story. He later recused himself from the case, handing it over to special prosecutors with the North Carolina Attorney General's Office.

Although the legal case lingers (special prosecutors are reviewing the evidence) Bell said the city and the university have moved forward in the past year.

"I have do doubt in my mind this community is going to get through it," Bell said. "Hopefully, we'll be better for it, and hopefully there've been lessons learned."

In the past year, the number of off-campus incidents involving Duke students has dropped dramatically.

"The student leadership here was quite remarkable, reminding other students: Don't do stupid things," said John Burness, Duke's senior vice president for public affairs,

Many people who live in Trinity Park -- where the alleged sexual assault occurred in the early-morning hours of March 14 -- including Duke professor Richard Schmalbeck, say they've noticed a difference.

"There've been problems with one or two late-night noise events, but it used to be something every weekend," Schmalbeck said."It's calmed down quite a bit."

And although Duke leaders don't think this one event will define the university, they're not sure what, if any kind of lasting effect it will have.

"Ultimately, the test of the university and the way we're perceived will be 2 to 5 years from now when people look back and say, 'Did Duke do the right thing?'"


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  • NCcountryGirl Mar 14, 2007

    omg the way this went on made it seem like its been wayyy more than a year

  • mugofstout Mar 14, 2007

    It was obvious she was whore, Nifong should serve sometime for staining the lives of these boys.

  • Watcher Of Things Mar 14, 2007

    I have always thought it was a re-election stunt that Nifong was pulling.

    I think the Lacross team should have been smarter than wanting a stripper to show her wares anyway - had they maintained a moral approach to life none of this would have happened.

  • mulvay8888 Mar 14, 2007

    I agree that everyone needs to let it die, but only when the charges are dropped. Until then, I think the news media should focus on rebuilding the lives of the three players convicted in the media.

  • EagleGirl Mar 14, 2007

    All would be quiet if the media would stop doing stories about it-just let it die.

  • Killian Mar 14, 2007

    Happyday...the "victim" in this case did more to set back the rights and progress of real victims than you can imagine. She has cast doubts on women who have actually been raped, and made them more scared to come forward. As a woman and a rape survivor, this case infuriated me, but on behalf of the innocent men involved. Their lives were ruined because this woman chose a profession involving sexual exploits and then wrongly accused them of a crime. Shame on her.

  • b-man Mar 14, 2007

    Why is Nifong so bitter aganist Duke? Did he get cut from the team? Check the DNA aganist his.

  • Jhucei Mar 14, 2007

    There are plenty of whores and strange things in colleges. I don't see why anyone would think the perception on any college would change. People get loose, dumb, and try to cover things up w/ lies.
    The Z man guy is bold for not reading articles including the word 'black' and expressing it. I guess it causes him or her jealousy or confusion. Maybe their lover was stolen by a better of a different race. People knowingly do the most psychotic, stupid things all the time: leaving their children at McDonald's, killing spouses instead of divorce, suicide, creating drugs and destruction for recreation, pornography w/ and sleeping w/ children, and molesting animals. Unlawful, moronic, ignorant, and many other bad qualities see no color, but alot of them don't include the word 'black'. I'm sure you find good reads.

  • huntleyperez Mar 14, 2007

    The Mayor thinks people are just ready for it to be over with....I have 3 boys....if my childs life was disrupted as theirs has been and its found out it was based on lies(Oh...thats right Nifong held back alittle evidence, didnt he??) I would legally start at the top and work my way down to her, even if I had to take out a 2nd mortgage to pay for it.

  • packandcanesfan Mar 14, 2007

    happy day what do you think happened if we are so amusing to you? She changed her story several times about who did what, wasn't sure who was there, had more than one sample of "male body fluid" in her panties and the gal that was there with her, didn't even back her up.