An Obligatory Post On The Duke Lacrosse Rape Case

by John Hawkins | April 19, 2006 4:27 am

Up until this point, I’ve avoided writing about the Duke Lacrosse team’s rape case because I wasn’t really sure what to think. However, today I’m….well…still, not sure what to think.

I can tell you that it has been handled horrendously. The Duke Lacrosse team had their season canceled, the coach resigned, and you had 46 kids treated like, “potential rapists,” even though, worst case scenario, 43 of them did nothing wrong.

Furthermore, I find the way that racial and feminist agendas have been inserted into this case to be nauseating. There seems to be more than a few people who want to declare these kids guilty based on nothing more than the fact that they’re white, male, and perceived as being wealthy because they go to Duke.

That’s particularly obnoxious in this instance because there are some very fishy things about this case. You have an exotic dancer with a record[1], who was drunk as a skunk and arrived injured and bleeding[2] at a party….and let’s just stop there. Doesn’t that set off some alarm bells? How did she get injured in the first place? Even if she was raped, given that she was scuffed up, isn’t it entirely possible that it occurred before the party?

Furthermore, the DA must have been convinced that he had DNA from one or all of the rapists because he made a big, hairy deal out of having all the players take DNA tests, which then came back negative.

Moreover, we’ll have to see how this plays out, but apparently there are multiple lawyers claiming that one or maybe even both of the current defendants weren’t even at the party[3] when the victim was supposedly raped.

So, does that mean this is Tawana Brawley, Part Two? Not necessarily. The DA has indicted two people and if he has any integrity at all, then surely he has a lot more evidence against these players than what has been revealed publicly at this point. That’s why no one should rush to judgment yet, despite the facts that have come to light so far.

That being said, let me add that I think this case has shown that it’s time for people accused of rape to be given the same courtesy as victims of rape when it comes to having their names left out of the papers. After all, it’s innocent until proven guilty and if the victims are going to be shielded from public scrutiny, the accused should be shielded as well, unless they’re found guilty in a court of law. If the purpose here is to protect innocent people from being stigmatized, then certainly that’s how it should work.

In the end, what it all comes down to here is that if these guys are guilty of rape, let’s hope that they go to prison for a long, long time. If this turns out to be a false accusation, then let’s hope the exotic dancer is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. But, whatever the ultimate outcome of this case is, it should lead to a lot of soul searching about the way rape cases are handled in this country.

*** Update #1 ***: Correction: I said the coach was fired in the original post. He actually resigned.

*** Update #2 ***: OK, after seeing this, I’m now persuaded that we’re getting into Tawana Brawley territory[4] here:

Over the last few days, sources close to the defense have given ABC News an exclusive look at the evidence behind one player’s alleged alibi — evidence that includes electronic records, photographs and witness statements. If that material is authentic, it could prove that it was practically impossible for him to rape, kidnap or assault the alleged victim.

Seligmann’s argument is simple: He is innocent and he has an alibi. He attended the party that night, but documents, photos and witness testimony show that he wasn’t there long enough or at the right time to attack the alleged victim.

…By 12:24 a.m., a receipt reviewed by ABC indicates that Seligmann’s ATM card was used at a nearby Wachovia bank. In a written statement to the defense also reviewed by ABC, a cabdriver confirms picking up Seligmann and a friend a block and a half from the party, and driving them to the bank. By 12:25 a.m., he was making a phone call to a girlfriend out of state.

…ABC News traced the steps of Seligmann’s story, timing how long it took to get from place to place. In repeated trials, the drive between the Wachovia branch and the corner where the cab picked him up took approximately five minutes. This suggests that Seligmann must have left the house by around 12:19 a.m.

So, Seligmann’s alibi suggests, he and the alleged victim were in the house together for less than 20 minutes. According to defense sources, based on the alleged victim’s affidavit, all of the following would have transpired within that time period: She and her dance partner performed for several minutes, left after feeling threatened by the boys’ growing “excited and aggressive,” returned after being persuaded by team members to dance some more, and then she was forced into a bathroom, beaten and raped.

Within those same minutes, phone bill records reviewed by ABC show that the defendant’s cell phone made at least two outgoing calls.

  1. with a record:
  2. injured and bleeding:
  3. at the party:
  4. Tawana Brawley territory:

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