Duke’s Lacrosse Team Suspended Over Rape Probe

Published: March 29, 2006

DURHAM, N.C. – Duke University’s president suspended the school’s nationally ranked men’s lacrosse team on March 28 until administrators can investigate allegations that three of the team’s members raped a woman at an off-campus party.

The victim, a female exotic dancer, as well as another dancer had been hired to perform on March 13 at a private party taking place at an off-campus house owned by the school. One of the dancers 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.

No charges have been filed against any of the 46 players, but DNA from each of them is being tested. All of the players say they are innocent.

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.

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Prior to the suspension, faculty members, students and residents protested five times. They were angry about the team’s silence and Duke’s handling of the matter.

The team captains did express regret over their lapse of judgment in having the party.

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