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2 Arrested In Duke Rape Case

DURHAM, N.C. – Two Duke University lacrosse team members were charged April 18 in the rape of a stripper at an off-campus party.

The identity of a third suspect is still being investigated. According to officials, Reade Seligmann and Collin Finnerty, both sophomores, have been formally charged with first-degree forcible rape, first-degree sexual offense and kidnapping of a 27-year-old female exotic dancer.

The victim and another dancer had been hired to perform on March 13 at a private party at an off-campus house owned by the school. The victim says she was pulled into the bathroom, beaten, kicked, strangled and raped by three men. After she escaped the dwelling, which was rented by the team’s three captains, she was driven to a local store where an employee called the police.

Authorities ordered 46 or the 47 players on the team to submit DNA samples to investigators. Because the woman said her attackers were white, the team’s only black player was not tested. Attorneys for the athletes say, however, that the tests failed to connect any of the team members to the alleged rape.

Lawyers for both of the suspects say neither had any contact with the victim. Sources close to the defense say both Seligmann and Finnerty can prove they were not at the house when the alleged incident occurred.

The case has raised racial tensions and increased animosity between the city of Durham and Duke’s affluent students. Officials are investigating whether the suspected attackers, who the dancer says were white, shouted racial epithets at the victim, who is black.

As a result of the allegations, Duke’s president suspended the nationally ranked team on March 28, and the team’s coach, Mike Pressler, resigned. Prior to the suspension, faculty members, students and residents protested several times against the team’s silence and Duke’s handling of the matter. The team captains expressed regret over their lapse of judgment in hiring strippers to perform at the party.

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