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Duke Protests Leader: 'I Didn't Expect it to End Right'

Posted April 15, 2007

— A Durham preacher who voiced criticism of the handling of the Duke lacrosse investigation from the beginning now says the system failed and the truth might never be known.

One year ago, a group gathered for prayer and called for justice outside of the house where exotic dancer Crystal Mangum claimed she was sexually assaulted by three Duke lacrosse players. That was one of numerous protests and vigils that took place on or around the Duke University campus after the case broke in March of 2006.

"One of the main reasons why we held a rally (was) because there was no due process,” said Bishop John Bennett, who led several vigils.

At the time, Bennett criticized Durham police for not making an arrest when the allegations first surfaced. One year later, he said he still believes that was the biggest mistake in the case.

"The system didn't start off right, and I didn't expect it to end right,” Bennett said.

All of the charges against David Evans, Reade Seligmann and Collin Finnerty were dropped last Wednesday, and state Attorney General Roy Cooper declared the players innocent due to a lack of evidence and inconsistencies with Mangum’s story.

A year later, Bennett said he's still not sure what to believe.

“I do believe that something out of the ordinary did happen in that house,” he said. “I'm not saying it was rape. I'm not necessarily saying it was them.”

213 Comments

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  • Lollipop Luv Apr 18, 1:29 p.m.

    The law is not always fair or always correct in anything. My daughter, 16 at the time, was kidnapped at knifepoint by an ex boyfriend who told her of the ways he had thought of killing her and getting away with it when we lived in South Florida. We immediately went to the police dept. I continued to call for weeks, but not once did an officer interview or call my daughter or me. After almost 1 1/2 mths, we get a call with an apology and asked to come in and give her statement. Sound odd to you? Me too. In the end, the police said it was her word against his. No charges were filed...by the police that is. I filed a restraining order and got a judge that usually does not sympathize with women at all. But, the boy had made a huge mistake. He typed me up an apology letter admitting to abusing my daughter and gave me 6 copies. The judge told the boy since I testified that I would kill him if he came near her, he better believe it. Restraining order was granted for my daughter.

  • hollyd Apr 17, 1:29 p.m.

    This will be my last post on here because it is mentally tiring and I like to believe we all have some goodness in us. If I write about the Reverend meanly, I cannot help but wonder how a supposed "man of God" can lead a group behind these accused and say things like he wishes them dead and they should be castrated. I believe he is better than that. Also, after this event many Duke students were afraid to go off campus and afraid to wear their college t-shirts. That is certainly human nature at its worst. I guess in a round about way, I am saying this is humanity-not race. Have we become so low that mob mentality is all we have? I even read where someone referred to the accused as good old boys and they were all from the Northeast. They were criticized for being able to attend Duke and criticized for who their parents are.Did any of you choose your parents?It was a rush to judgement and a rush to condemn.

  • hollyd Apr 17, 12:49 p.m.

    I think the Reverend has a right to his opinion but it is not downright mean to point out things he does not want to see because he wants to believe her. As for DNA, I am referring to swabs from inside that would have proven she was raped. She had lots of DNA there but it was not from any of the accused. Also as I recall she decided she was raped much later and that is why no one was "rounded up" right away. Another funny thing, if the accused had done this, why were her belongings-purse with money,cell phone, false fingernails in bathroom, still in place right where she left them? I do not condone the young men for hiring the strippers and I do not judge her for her actions. I believe she needs help. Another reason I do not jump on the bandwagon against the accused is her story changed too much-radically. When a person is telling the truth, the story may vary a little each time but not that much.

  • deacon8ball Apr 17, 9:23 a.m.

    NOW!!!! don't it seem unusual that NO DNA was found on the young lady yet the pictures that have been aired show that she is in the house that beloongs to them and just being in the house on the floor will bring about someone's DNA.

  • deacon8ball Apr 17, 9:15 a.m.

    If there were 30 NCCU male students and a the accusation came from a white woman, would they have had 30 days of freedom before an arrest is executed? Yes i do believe that all of the players should have been taken downtown and questioned and put in a lineup.

  • deacon8ball Apr 17, 9:06 a.m.

    Doen't the Grand Jury have to give the go ahead to the DA in order for him to go forth??

  • deacon8ball Apr 17, 8:48 a.m.

    From what I have read there seem to be one lost item that has failed to be brought forth. With all of the time that elaspe btwn the accusation and the arrest, that there would not have been an arrest made UNLESS the GRAND JURY thought there were sufficent evidence for the Prosecutor to go forth with the case.

    To answer one of the questions, "that they arrest all the players at the party at the time" yes (I tried not to say this) but if it was 30 NCCU young men and a white woman, allllll of them would have been downtown that night. That how it REALLY is in this world.

    The WAY you criticize Bishop Bennett really, really show that you are GRAND Christians and GREAT human Beings. I feel that you have the right to say that someone is wrong but to be down right mean IS MEAN...

  • hollyd Apr 17, 1:39 a.m.

    It does not take a rocket scientist to know that OJ got away with murdering two people because the jury was predominately black and they did not care that he had taken the lives of two white people. There was enough DNA and other evidence against him plus a history of spousal abuse but the case became not about right vs wrong, it became about race. Another paradox is that many people justified the murders by portraying her as a sexually active party girl who "drove him to it". It did not seem to matter that he left his first wife to chase after her when she was very young and working as a waitress. He got off plain and simply because the race card was used to inflame the jury and it worked. In this incident, there never was any evidence and the woman's past history speaks volumes. She is obviously very troubled. So the difference to the why question is just that. She is very troubled and she fabricated a story.

  • readyforgodswilltobedone Apr 16, 10:29 p.m.

    i JUST DON'T GET IT!!! When OJ was found not guilty, it was he must have done it. So why can't these guys be guilty as well??

  • jprdar Apr 16, 7:30 p.m.

    goheels, not sure what you said, but I was reported as well, for a statement, that noone has claimed me to be wrong, just not very popular. I added a statement to this question; Whose DNA was found on the liar? That might be the real answer as to what happened that night. My other comment wasn't PC soooooo. I was reported.

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