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Duke Lacrosse Season Canceled; Coach Resigns As 'Repulsive' Details Emerge

Posted April 5, 2006
Updated December 9, 2006

— Duke University's president canceled the lacrosse season and the men's lacrosse coach resigned Wednesday, the same day an e-mail message was released as part of a search warrant in a rape investigation involving Duke lacrosse athletes.

President Richard Brodhead called the e-mail contents "sick and repulsive" in his statement, which also announced that he officially canceled the season and all lacrosse activities. Brodhead also announced that lacrosse coach Mike Pressler had submitted his resignation.

The new developments came after a Durham police search warrant released Wednesday indicated that at least one Duke lacrosse member planned to have a party involving strippers the night after the incident in which an exotic dancer claims she was raped by team members.

The search warrant, executed on March 27 and 28 for a student's car and dorm room, includes an e-mail that police believe is from lacrosse player Ryan McFadyen.

The e-mail states that "after tonights show, i've decided to have some strippers over to edens 2c. all are welcome." The e-mail was obtained by Durham police from a confidential source on March 27.

The alleged rape happened on March 13 when a dancer who was invited to a party involving Duke lacrosse athletes told police she was assaulted and raped by three of them. No charges have been filed yet.

The e-mail, sent at 1:58 a.m. on March 14, was signed "41," which is McFadyen's jersey number on the lacrosse team. It says that the party on March 14 would involve no nudity and that plans for the party that night include "killing the b----- as soon as (they) walk in and proceeding to cut their skin off..."

McFadyen's attorney this morning, Bob Ekstrand, said the e-mail had no place in the search warrant.

"The e-mail's language is vile," said Ekstrand, who is representing more than 30 of the lacrosse athletes. "It is also perfectly consistent with the boys' assertion that no sexual assault took place that night. The time stamp on the e-mail of 1:58 a.m. -- shortly after the party -- is more evidence of a lack of a guilty mind."

McFadyen switched attorneys Wednesday afternoon. His current lawyer, Glen Bachman, said it would be inappropriate to comment on the investigation at this point, and said there are now concerns about his client's safety.

But people who know McFadyen told WRAL that they were surprised by the message.

"I'm shocked. I would never -- not him in a million years," said Jacinta Green, who said she is one of McFadyen's closest friends.

Green described McFadyen as funny and laid back. She said he even attended a march last week that was part of Duke's rape awareness and prevention week.

"He went to the Take Back the Night and spoke out against rape in general-- not just what happened, but rape in general -- and said he doesn't condone it," Green said.

After receiving the e-mail information, Duke police searched McFadyen's dorm room on campus and his car.

On the night of the alleged attack, the victim told police three lacrosse players raped, sodomized and beat her. She also told them that someone at the party stole $400 from her -- all in $20 bills.

The search warrant shows officers went to McFadyen's dorm room looking for that money. Investigators were also looking for video devices and computer equipment.

They seized two laptops, a disposable camera, a backpack, papers and drawings and three $20 bills.

In his statement Wednesday, Brodhead said, "The court released today a previously sealed warrant, whose contents are sickening and repulsive."

He also asked people to come forward with information about the incident.

"I once again urge anyone with information pertinent to the events of March 13 to cooperate with the authorities," Brodhead said.

In a statement posted on the Duke University men's lacrosse page of GoDuke.com, ahletic drector Joe Alleva said he supports Brodhead's decision to cancel the remainder of the season.

"I believe this is in the best interests of the program, the department of athletics and the university," he said.

Alleva also said he had accepted Pressler's resignation, which was effective immediately.

Pressler spent 16 seasons at Duke, and has three Atlantic Coast Conference championships and 10 NCAA Tournament berths. He is also a three-time ACC Coach of the Year and last year, won National Coach of the Year.
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