Local News

Duke Protests Leader: 'I Didn't Expect it to End Right'

Posted April 15, 2007 4:32 p.m. EDT
Updated April 15, 2007 7:17 p.m. EDT

— A Durham preacher who voiced criticism of the handling of the Duke lacrosse investigation from the beginning now says the system failed and the truth might never be known.

One year ago, a group gathered for prayer and called for justice outside of the house where exotic dancer Crystal Mangum claimed she was sexually assaulted by three Duke lacrosse players. That was one of numerous protests and vigils that took place on or around the Duke University campus after the case broke in March of 2006.

"One of the main reasons why we held a rally (was) because there was no due process,” said Bishop John Bennett, who led several vigils.

At the time, Bennett criticized Durham police for not making an arrest when the allegations first surfaced. One year later, he said he still believes that was the biggest mistake in the case.

"The system didn't start off right, and I didn't expect it to end right,” Bennett said.

All of the charges against David Evans, Reade Seligmann and Collin Finnerty were dropped last Wednesday, and state Attorney General Roy Cooper declared the players innocent due to a lack of evidence and inconsistencies with Mangum’s story.

A year later, Bennett said he's still not sure what to believe.

“I do believe that something out of the ordinary did happen in that house,” he said. “I'm not saying it was rape. I'm not necessarily saying it was them.”