Local News

Court chastises supporter of Duke lacrosse accuser

Posted July 4, 2016 12:53 p.m. EDT
Updated November 5, 2018 11:59 a.m. EST

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story described Sidney Harr as "a Durham man." Harr does not live in Durham.

A federal court has fined a man and ordered him not to file any more "vexatious and frivolous" lawsuits against Duke University officials over the discredited 2006 sexual assault allegations involving members of the school's lacrosse team.

Sidney Harr, a retired physician, is a longtime supporter of former Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong and Crystal Mangum, the woman who accused three lacrosse players of raping her during a team party at an off-campus house. Authorities later cleared the players of any wrongdoing, and Nifong was disbarred for the way he handled the case.

Harr has said Mangum and Nifong were treated unfairly by the judicial system and the media, and he also has maintained that authorities falsified the autopsy report of Mangum’s boyfriend, whom she was convicted of killing in 2011.

Harr first sued Duke, President Richard Brodhead and other because he felt he was kicked off campus for supporting Nifong. That lawsuit and a second one making similar claims were both dismissed. Yet, he filed a third lawsuit in April.

In an order issued last week U.S. District Judge Catherine Eagles said Harr has violated federal court rules by repeatedly filing the same claim after it has been dismissed. She threw out his third lawsuit, fined him $1,000 and issued an injunction against any more suits in the matter. Violating the injunction could bring further sanctions, such as a contempt of court citation, she said.

"His repeated frivolous filings despite many explanations and warnings, including after the show cause order, demonstrate that he filed this lawsuit for an improper purpose, including the purpose of harassing the Duke Defendants, that he has abused the judicial process, and that the complaint is yet another link in the chain of vexatious and frivolous pleadings Mr. Harr has filed," Eagles wrote in the order.