[Update 2/4/11: This post was written immediately after the allegations emerged and does not reflect my views on the case. I raised questions early about inconsistencies in the accuser's account and became a vocal critic of Mike Nifong's prosecution. The charges were later dropped and Nifong was eventually disbarred for prosecutorial misconduct.]
Here in Durham, the local community and campus are in turmoil as disturbing details emerge of a racially charged incident in which white members of the Duke lacrosse team allegedly gang-raped an African American stripper at an off-campus house:
The woman who says she was raped last week by three members of the Duke University lacrosse team thought she would be dancing for five men at a bachelor party, she said Friday. But when she arrived that night, she found herself surrounded by more than 40.Just moments after she and another exotic dancer started to perform, she said, men in the house started barking racial slurs. The two women, both black, stopped dancing."We started to cry," she said. "We were so scared."Forty-six members of the men's lacrosse team submitted DNA samples Thursday in the unusual case. As of late Friday, there had been no arrests...
Details of the accusations were made public this week in a warrant authorizing a search of the three-bedroom rental house where the attack is alleged to have taken place...The accuser had worked for an escort company for two months, doing one-on-one dates about three times a week."It wasn't the greatest job," she said, her voice trailing off. But with two children, and a full class load at N.C. Central University, it paid well and fit her schedule.This was the first time she had been hired to dance provocatively for a group, she said. There was no security to protect her, and as the men became aggressive, the two women started to leave. After some of the men apologized for the behavior, the women went back inside, according to police. That's when the woman was pulled into a bathroom and raped and sodomized, police said...
Jason Bissey, who was on his porch next door during the party, saw the victim that night. He said Friday that he wishes he had called police at the first sign something was wrong.He saw at least 30 men go into the white three-bedroom house, which Duke officials say is rented by three lacrosse team captains.Bissey saw two women arrive and, after they were in the house 20 minutes, come out. As they got into a car, men shouted, Bissey said."Some of them were saying things like, 'I want my money back,' " Bissey said.He recalled the racially charged statements at least one man was yelling at the victim."When I was outside, one guy yelled at her, '... Thank your grandpa for my cotton shirt,' " Bissey said.After a few minutes, everything seemed to calm down, he said. One of the women headed back into the house, saying she forgot her shoes.Days later, Bissey learned one of the young women reported being raped.
I'm disgusted. The lacrosse team has already forfeited two games. I hope they forfeit the rest of the season.
Update 3/28 8:30 AM: I want to be absolutely clear that all the players are innocent until proven guilty, as a commenter notes. The DNA results may be back in as little as a week, so we need to sit tight for at least that long before any serious decisions are made.