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Latest Duke E-mail Aims To Ease Concerns About Rumored Violence

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DURHAM, N.C. — Duke is addressing rumors of violence near the campus after Durham police alerted university officials about a possible drive-by shooting at the house where an alleged rape took place.

In an e-mail message to students Friday, Vice President of Student Affairs Larry Moneta said there was no way to know if the rumors of retaliation for the alleged assault were credible, but said both Duke and Durham police have substantially increased patrols in the area.

Predicting more rumors in the future, Moneta wrote that he did not want to create hysteria, but that he also did not want to withhold information from students. He also told students to call authorities anytime they felt threatened.

The e-mail message is the latest development in an investigation concerning Duke University's men's lacrosse team and allegations by an exotic dancer that she was gang raped and beaten by three lacrosse athletes at a party on March 13.

Racial tension has mounted on Duke's campus and in the city of Durham -- which is about evenly divided between blacks and whites -- since news reports surfaced about the allegations. Forty-six of 47 members of the lacrosse team submitted DNA samples to police. The 47th member was not tested because he is black; the alleged victim told police her attackers were white.

Accusations have also surfaced that team members made racial slurs to the dancer, as well as an unidentified 911 caller --- both of whom are black.

Lacrosse athletes have remained relatively silent about the investigation and the allegations, but have said through their attorneys that no sexual assault took place. They have admitted, however, to underage drinking at the party, which resulted in the university's athletic director last week forfeiting two lacrosse games. University President Richard Brodhead, on Tuesday, suspended future play, saying that it would be inappropriate, but that it was not punishment.

The athletes have also been criticized for their silence, but a female Duke athlete who knows some of the lacrosse players said they are not talking because they don't know what happened.

"Obviously, I'm a bit disappointed in all the decisions that they all made, but I can't jump to any conclusions, and I'm just trying to believe that what they were accused of really did not happen," she said.

Although that may be the case, Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong has said that anyone who does have information and does not cooperate with investigators could face charges for aiding and abetting.

Nifong also said that any charges in connection with the case would not be filed until at least the week of April 10. He also said he would neither announce the DNA results that were expected back from a State Bureau of Investigation lab next week nor announce any evidence before a trial.

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