Local News

Parents of Duke Lacrosse Players Express Anger at Durham DA

Posted January 15, 2007 8:05 a.m. EST
Updated January 15, 2007 3:03 p.m. EST

— In an interview on "60 Minutes," the parents of the three Duke lacrosse players indicted in connection with an alleged attack on a woman talked about how the case has had an impact on their families.

They directed their anger squarely at Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong.

An exotic dancer claims she was attacked by three members of the Duke lacrosse team at an off-campus party in March. David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann were initially charged with first-degree rape, first-degree kidnapping and first-degree sexual offense in the case.

In December, Nifong dropped rape charges after the alleged victim said she could not say for certain whether she was raped.

"Every mother of a son in this country should be scared to death that this was so easy to perpetrate," said Kathy Seligmann, Reade Seligmann's mother.

Rae Evans, David Evans' mother, said she believes Nifong's relentless pursuit of the three players was politically motivated.

"This is about a man who chose to use a troubled young woman's story of fantastic lies to advance his own political career, which was crumbling," she said. "He needed something big. He needed that magic bullet and he shot it and he shot it right at our sons."

On Friday, Nifong recused himself from the case. Two special prosecutors with the state Attorney General's Office will take over. Among the thousands of documents they will review is the report of a forensic expert hired by Nifong.

Dr. Brian Meehan, of DNA Security, said he made a mistake by not stating in his report that he found DNA on the accuser from others who were not lacrosse players.

"In retrospect, I know there was a better way, and I should have done a better job of relaying that information," he said.

According to "60 Minutes," the organization that accredits forensic labs has launched an investigation into DNA Security. WRAL was unable to reach Nifong for his response.

In addition, "60 Minutes," said the alleged victim has a long psychiatric history.

The Finnertys and Seligmanns said an invitation for their sons to return to school was too little too late. They said it would be hard to send their children back to a place where the leaders did not support them.

Duke University did not comment on the families' statements.