Local News

Alleged Rape Victim Had Past Brush With Law

Posted April 6, 2006
Updated January 7, 2007

— Allegations made by a woman who told police that she was gang-raped by three Duke University men's lacrosse athletes have raised questions about the character, credibility and behavior of all those involved.

The severity of the allegations raises questions about each individual involved in the events that transpired on March 13 and March 14, including the alleged victim.

New information about the victim has been divulged, concerning charges arising from an incident that occurred several years ago. According to a 2002 police report, the woman, currently a 27-year-old student at North Carolina Central University, gave a taxi driver a lap dance at a Durham strip club. Subsequently, according to the report, she stole the man's car and led deputies on a high-speed chase that ended in Wake County.

Apparently, the deputy thought the chase was over when the woman turned down a dead-end road near Brier Creek, but instead she tried to run over him, according to the police report.

Additional information notes that her blood-alcohol level registered at more than twice the legal limit.

In spite of that incident, her attorney at the time, Woody Vann, asserts that what happened then should not cause people to question her character now. He said she is a decent and credible human being.

"She took the car in what we've categorized in the past as a joyride," Vann said.

Vann also said that the allegations that that his former client was trying to hit the sheriff's deputy were in error, and that she was merely trying to turn around. The case was resolved when she admitted she made a mistake, paid restitution and served probation and some jail time.

"I would be glad to go to bat for her," Vann said. "She was a very credible, believable person and deserves that sort of respect in this situation now."

Vann also said the woman is depending on crisis counselors, family and friends to help her get through the investigation. Although she has had numerous requests for interviews from both local and national media outlets, Vann said she is purposely maintaining a low profile and concentrating on caring for her two children.

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