3rd Duke Lacrosse Player Indicted In Rape Case

Published: May 16, 2006

DURHAM, N.C. – A third Duke University lacrosse player has been indicted on gang-rape allegations.

David Evans, 23, was the team captain and graduated May 14, the day before his arrest. He was charged with first-degree forcible rape, kidnapping and sexual offense. Evans says he and the other two suspects, Reade Seligmann and Collin Finnerty, are all innocent and that the allegations are lies.

The three suspects, all lacrosse teammates, were arrested in connection with the alleged rape of an exotic dancer in March.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 and rented by Evans, along with two other players. She says she was pulled into the bathroom, beaten, kicked, strangled and raped by three men. After escaping the dwelling, she was driven to a local store where an employee called the police.

Authorities ordered 46 of the 47 players on the team to submit DNA samples to investigators. Attorneys for the athletes say, however, that two rounds of tests failed to connect any of the team members to the alleged rape.

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Lawyers for Seligmann and Finnerty say neither had any contact with the victim. Sources close to the defense say both 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. Evans and the other team captains expressed regret over their lapse of judgment in hiring strippers to perform at the party.

Evans was released on $400,000 bail. Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong did not comment about the arrest but did issue a statement saying that the rest of the team was cleared of any charges.

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