Local News

DNA Results On Duke Lacrosse Team Could Be Back By Next Week

Posted March 27, 2006 9:17 a.m. EST
Updated January 7, 2007 1:34 p.m. EST

— Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong has asked the State Bureau of Investigation to expedite the DNA testing of more than 40 members of Duke University's lacrosse team in connection with an alleged gang-rape case.

Forty-six of 47 players submitted DNA samples as part of an investigation into claims by an exotic dancer, a student at North Carolina Central University, that she was raped, sodomized and beaten at a March 14 party where lacrosse team members were present.

"This is a case we felt we needed a quick turnaround," Nifong said. "There's a lot up in the air, and 40-some people waiting on this."

SBI officials, who received the samples late Monday afternoon, said the DNA results could be back by next week.

The district attorney's office said team members deny the accusations, but admit there was underage drinking at the party. Otherwise, they are not cooperating with authorities.

Nifong, who said Monday that he himself will prosecute the case, said authorities may apply for more search warrants in the case and that more charges for aiding and abetting may be possible against partygoers.

"There's a good chance if someone had spoken up and said, 'You can't do this,' it might not have happened," Nifong said.

As a result of the allegations, Duke athletics director Joe Alleva forced the team to forfeit two games. The next game is scheduled for Saturday at Ohio State.

At this point, there are no plans to take any other disciplinary actions.

"No one has been charged with anything, convicted with anything," said Duke University spokesman John Burness. "An investigation is going on, so we're in a position not to presume or prejudice any aspect of the case."

Burness said there have been several meetings between senior administrators, the men's lacrosse coach and team captains, but that they do not have "sufficient facts, at this point."

Protests resumed for the third straight day Monday as students gathered to voice their complaints in front of Duke's campus administration building.

About 100 people took turns speaking at a rally Monday afternoon to bring awareness to sexual assault.

"It happens to too many people and its time to say something about it," student Nina Ehrlich said after speaking at the rally.

On Saturday evening, protesters held a candlelight vigil, and on Sunday morning, a group of about 100 people banged pots and pans outside the home where the dancer said she was raped.

One protester carried a sign that read, "All rapes deserve outrage."

Events are planned every day this week at the university -- including a "Take Back the Night" rally Wednesday night to remember survivors of sexual assault.

The lacrosse members are not the only student athletes at Duke under investigation for a crime. A wrestler is also in trouble. Wes Kuser is charged with first-degree burglary and resisting arrest. Police said Kuser was arrested while trying to break into a dorm room.