Local News

Ex-Lacrosse Coach Sues Duke, Says School Violated Settlement

Posted October 12, 2007 7:22 p.m. EDT
Updated October 13, 2007 10:13 a.m. EDT

— Several months after settling his legal claims again Duke University over his forced resignation, former lacrosse coach Mike Pressler sued the school on Friday.

Pressler was ousted in April 2006, shortly after Durham police began investigating rape allegations against members of the lacrosse team. A stripper told police that three players assaulted her in an off-campus house, where she was performing at a team party.

The allegations were later found to be baseless, and state Attorney General Roy Cooper dropped all charges against the three players indicted in the case.

Pressler and Duke reached an undisclosed settlement that spring, which the university called at the time "an amicable, fair financial settlement."

The new lawsuit is related to the settlement, and a Duke official said Friday that the school would fight the suit.

"Mr. Pressler, aided by his attorney, reached a fair and final financial agreement with Duke University in the spring of 2007. We are disappointed that he is now trying to undo that agreement with an unfounded claim against Duke," Pamela Bernard, Duke's vice president and general counsel, said in a statement.

"We will address the matter through the legal process and insist on honoring our existing agreement."

The Herald-Sun of Durham reported that Pressler's lawsuit alleges the university broke the terms of the confidential settlement when university senior vice president John Burness made disparaging comments about the former coach. The newspaper reported that the lawsuit asks the state court to void the settlement and hold a trial on Pressler's claim of wrongful termination.

Pressler did not return a call by The Associated Press seeking comment Friday night, and his agent declined to comment.

Pressler, who now coaches at Bryant University in Rhode Island, helped write a book, "It's Not About the Truth," about his experience in the lacrosse case.