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Investigators in Lacrosse Case Leave Durham Police Force

Sgt. Mark Gottlieb and Benjamin Himan have both left the police force within the past month, according to a police spokeswoman.

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DURHAM, N.C. — Two Durham police investigators who worked on the criminal case against three Duke University lacrosse players have left the police department.

Sgt. Mark Gottlieb, who was the supervising officer in the case, retired March 1, police spokeswoman Kammie Michael said. He had been with the department since January 1992.

Benjamin Himan, the lead investigator on the case, resigned Feb. 19, Michael said.

Both men are named among a list of defendants in a civil rights suit filed by the three players who were indicted in Spring 2006 after an exotic dancer claimed the players raped and sexually assaulted her in one of their bathrooms during a party.

Other players not indicted in the case have also filed suits naming Gottlieb and Himan as defendants.

Gottlieb has been criticized for writing a memo four months after interviewing the accuser when the allegations surfaced.  He also supervised a photographic identification procedure that came under fire because it violated statewide standards for conducting lineups.

During the ethics hearing that ultimately resulted in former District Attorney Mike Nifong's disbarment, Himan testified that Nifong moved forward with the case despite inconsistencies in the accuser's story and other evidence.

Himan also said during that hearing he agreed with the North Carolina attorney general's decision to dismiss the charges, saying he did not believe a sexual assault occurred at the house.