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Infamous 'Duke lacrosse house' now history

Posted July 12, 2010

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— The house where an exotic dancer claimed she was raped more than four years ago by three Duke University lacrosse players was demolished Monday – a move some called a fresh start while others said it is erasing the past.

The unassuming white structure at 610 N. Buchanan Blvd., owned by Duke, was the setting of a firestorm of public and media scrutiny and national debate about race and privilege that led to the downfall of a veteran prosecutor.

Michael Schoenfeld, Duke's vice president for public affairs and government relations, said the university decided to tear down the house months ago because it had fallen into disrepair.

"It was an eyesore in the neighborhood, and we had a decision of either investing a lot of money into a structure that any reasonable person would want to tear down because of the condition or tearing it down," he said.

The decision, he said, had nothing to do with the rape case, but he acknowledged it is also a way to help the university heal.

"That house has been a symbol, for better or worse, of a period of time and incidences within the university, within the city, nationally," he added. "So, while the decision to tear it down was not made for any symbolic reasons, certainly there will be people who will be relieved to see it gone."

The house remained vacant since Crystal Mangum, a North Carolina Central University student who was working as a stripper, claimed three white players trapped her inside one of the house's bathrooms and raped and sexually assaulted her at a party on the night of March 13, 2006.

The three players were indicted and arrested on rape and other charges on the basis of her allegations, but North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper dismissed the case more than a year later after special prosecutors found no credible evidence to support Mangum's claims.

Mike Nifong, who was the Durham County district attorney at the time, was disbarred and later resigned after 30 years in the Durham prosecutor's office, because of his handling of the case.

He later spent a night in jail after a judge held him in criminal contempt for willfully making false statements about the case in court.

Duke lacrosse house demolished Web only: Lacrosse house is demolished

"It's a reminder of the past that some people don't want to be reminded of," rising Duke senior Emily Fausch said. "So, it's a good thing that it's going. It's like a fresh start, I guess."

Others, like Manju Rajendran, however, said they believe Duke's decision was erasing an important story for Durham.

”We believe the demolition is a form of force forgetting, a way of trying to erase the story of what's happened here," she said.

A representative of the local women's group, Ubuntu, Rajendran said she would have liked to have seen a resource space for sex workers and survivors of violence.

"We are not going to forget what's happened here," she said. "It's very charged land."

Duke purchased the house at 610 N. Buchanan, along with several others, a few months prior to Mangum's allegations, in an effort to revitalize two neighborhoods bordering the campus, Schoenfeld said.

It was in such bad shape, he said, it most likely would have been condemned earlier, had the criminal case not happened.

He said the university doesn't know what it will do with the property, but a decision could come soon.

Meanwhile, Mangum was in a Durham court Monday asking a judge to change conditions of her bond release on charges she faces that stem from a domestic dispute earlier this year in which she allegedly threatened to stab her boyfriend and set his clothes on fire.

Durham police arrested Mangum Feb. 18 on charges that include attempted first-degree murder, arson and misdemeanor child abuse. She's been out of jail since May on a $100,000 bond but has been under house arrest at a friend's home.

Mangum had asked to released from house arrest to take care of her mother and to work. Superior Court Judge Michael Morgan granted the request but placed her on electronic monitoring instead.

In a news conference last month, she said that the Duke lacrosse case is making it difficult for her to be fairly treated by the justice system.

"I am being unfairly treated due to preconceived notions that people had about me concerning another case," Mangum said.

106 Comments

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  • Dat MoFo Jul 12, 7:41 p.m.

    "The truth is known only to the woman, the men, and God. Sometimes that is the way things work out."

    Wrong, the truth is also known to us. The truth is the woman lied.

  • Dat MoFo Jul 12, 7:40 p.m.

    Shouldn't the article say it was the house where a stripper FALSELY accused three Duke students of raping her and where a prosecutor's LIES led to his downfall? And where 80+ Duke professors showed themselves to be gutless cowards?

  • NoFreakinWay Jul 12, 7:40 p.m.

    can someone end our misery as well with Mangled Mangrum?

  • See Chart Jul 12, 7:29 p.m.

    I was thinking of Joe Avila for better or worse,leaving Duke.

  • twc Jul 12, 7:17 p.m.

    See Chart, at least it caused some changes in faculty. Some of the blatant racists are somewhere else now. I didn't even have the opportunity to say goodbye to Houston Baker. At least something positive came out of it.

  • sketch Jul 12, 6:54 p.m.

    who cares...

  • See Chart Jul 12, 6:35 p.m.

    A sad day for Duke to take the sides against the lacrosse team and
    which has cost Duke plenty way beyond the cost of keeping this
    home.

  • twc Jul 12, 6:20 p.m.

    Intelligent people know why she lied! The rest aren't worth the waste of time!

  • kenloe3981 Jul 12, 6:13 p.m.

    They should send Crystal Mangum the bill.....Her lies gave many the chance to play the race card and end up looking like fools! Maybe one day white people will have the guts to stand up against all the racism that we receive!

  • kikinc Jul 12, 6:03 p.m.

    rchcmpbll-

    You might want to rethink your statement. One of the guys that was charged has an alibi. He WAS at the party, much earlier in the night. But, at the time the incident allegedly happened, there are ATM receipts, witnesses, AND cell phone records that prove he was elsewhere. I think that throws accuracy right out the window.

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