Lacrosse Players Get Apology from Duke

DURHAM, N.C. – Speaking at Duke University’s law school, president Richard Brodhead said he was sorry for not providing more support to the men’s lacrosse team and their families when three players were falsely accused in a widely publicized rape scandal last year.

The president went on to say that he regretted the university did not reach out to the players and their families after the three players had been accused of raping a woman at a March 2006 party put on by the team.

Brodhead gave a speech at a school-sponsored forum on legal and ethical issues involved in high-profile cases and received a standing ovation afterward.

At the beginning of the case investigation, the university suspended the team from playing. Brodhead then canceled the rest of its season and fired coach Mike Pressler. He was also concerned with making public comments that could be viewed as the university trying to sway the judicial process. He had remarked at the time that the players should be presumed innocent but also asserted that the alleged crimes were not acceptable at the university.

Mike Nifong, the Durham County Prosecutor, won indictments against players Collin Finnerty, Dave Evans and Reade Seligman, and labeled the Lacrosse team “hooligans.”

It was later shown that the allegations had no merit, as state prosecutors concluded in April that the accuser had lied. Last June, Nifong was disbarred for more than two dozen violations of the state bar’s rules of professional conduct, including withholding crucial DNA test results. He resigned from office.

School officials said that Brodhead would not be available for further comment.

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