Local News

Faith in Justice System, Praise for Players Follow Dismissal

Posted April 11, 2007
Updated November 28, 2007

— Numerous officials issued comments Wednesday following the dismissal of charges against three men who had been charged in the Duke lacrosse sexual abuse case.

One came from Mike Pressler, who under pressure resigned his position as coach of the Duke lacrosse team last year when the charges were filed and the season was suspended. He is now coaching at Bryant University in Smithfield, R.I.

"Today is the celebration of the two words we’ve attached our lives to for almost 13 months – the truth. It is the same truth today as it was a year ago. Our story has not changed and today’s announcement is long, long overdue," Pressler said in a statement that Bryant distributed..

"I am so proud of their resolve, their strength, and the first-class manner with which they handled this entire episode," Pressler said of David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann, the students over whom the charges loomed for more than a year.

At Duke, university President Richard Brodhead issued a statement saying, "I join with everyone who cares about justice in welcoming the North Carolina State Attorney General’s announcement that the remaining charges have been dropped."

"From the outset, I have been careful to note that these students were entitled to the presumption of innocence, and I looked to the legal system to determine the merit of the charges," Brodhead said. he added, "I trust the State Bar’s review will be equally thorough so that we can understand the district attorney’s conduct in this case."

Duke, he said, "won’t be afraid to go back and learn what we can from this difficult experience."

From the state NAACP offices, state conference President William J. Barber II issued a statement saying, "We respect the integrity of the Attorney General’s investigation and supported the involvement of special prosecutors.

"If his office believes the state lacks sufficient evidence to convince a jury beyond a reasonable doubt that all the elements of each crime took place, then it is the State’s constitutional duty to dismiss the charges. We trust that the SBI has left no stone unturned in the investigation of this case," Barber said.

The Duke case could produce more care in prosecutions, Barber suggested.

"The NAACP is mindful of that fact that there have been numerous cases where African-Americans and poor defendants were only finally acquitted after years of serving time and being wrongfully prosecuted....  We must always be conscious as a state and community to ensure that justice is properly meted out for all citizens," Barber said.

Elsewhere at Duke, Sports Director Joe Alleva said, "I am extremely proud of the way the members of our lacrosse program handled the multitude of distractions – many of them unwarranted – with dignity and class for the past 13 months."

North Carolina Central University also issued a statement. Crystal Mangum, the woman who accused the players, was a student there, and Chancellor James H. Ammons said, "This matter has caused anguish for all parties involved; however, as a result, collaborations between North Carolina Central University and Duke University have grown stronger. NCCU and Duke engaged in some very important discussions and forums that enhanced our tolerance and raised awareness regarding race, class, sexual assault and athletic privilege."

The North Carolina Conference of District Attorneys noted that prosecutors have to balance numerous issues in deciding how to handle cases.

"We are confident that Deputy Attorney[s] General [Jim] Coman and Mary Winstead have diligently conducted their analysis of the Duke lacrosse cases and acted accordingly," the organization said.

4 Comments

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  • riddel Apr 12, 6:48 a.m.

    What is the difference between this and O.J.? O.J. had a lot less money available to him nor did he have the political support these unfortunate sons of the confederacy. Let me retract that this is not a racial thing but one of economics. Who can someone as poor as this dancer expect to demand justice from the sons of people of such power and resources. You let a public official decide guilt of innocence. I thought that was reserved for a judge or jury. Did he also declare this was the final resolution of this crime. Wait until it is your son or daughter getting raped and your justice is co opted by some one with power. This justice has nothing to do with these young men but it is about a power system and a man's attempt to go against that power.The people of N.C. have given up their right to have their daughters protected from rape by the lorded gentry by sleeping through this form of justice. I thought the time was gone in which the lord claimed the right sexual access. The powers in

  • ROCC Apr 11, 9:13 p.m.

    Bonehead needs to be fired. The Duke alumni need to oust him and the teachers that turned on those students like rabid dogs, without giving them a chance to defend themselves against the charges. If those personnel are not removed, Dukes reputation will be sorely damaged. I know I wouldn't allow my child to go to a school that would be so quick to throw someone under the bus. Only if my student were a basketball player, would I feel he would be defended by Duke.

  • bortz4prez Apr 11, 6:31 p.m.

    Broadhead is such a wus. If he believed in the justice system, he wouldn't have cancelled last season and force a coach to resign. He caved in to political correctness just like Nithong.

  • GWALLY Apr 11, 6:21 p.m.

    Can you say "Full Scale Olympic Backstroke"?????????