Wednesday, April 12, 2006

FOXNews.com - Lawyer: No DNA Match in Duke Gang Rape Case

And yet the district attorney is still pushing the case forward. At first I thought he simply had more evidence that the public didn't fully appreciate. But when I learned that the DA made his announcement at the school where the alleged victim attended, and not at Duke nor at any neutral town setting (like the Durham Town Hall), that did it. The DA is keeping this case alive for political reasons only.

Let's review what we actually know:

  • Duke's men's lacrosse team threw an after-the-game party.
  • To liven up this party, they hired two ecdysiasts--a fancy Greek word meaning one who takes off her clothes.
  • One of the ecdysiasts later said that three members of the lax team assaulted and raped her.
  • She's black, and the lax team members are all white, except one, who does not stand accused or suspected.
  • Since then, the coach has resigned, the lax season is cancelled, and one player has drawn a suspension--for what, Duke won't say.
That's all we knew at first. But now we know:
  • The accuser claims that three members of the lax team beat her and injured her. But photographs showed that she already had suffered the injuries when she showed up to do the gig.
  • As the article describes, DNA testing reveals no DNA from any of the players on her person--a rather remarkable result if the assault took place as she claimed.
We have two issues to deal with. The first is the conduct of the boys. I will comment on the rush-to-judgment issue below. But I must observe that if those boys had not thrown that wild party, and had not hired two amateur ecdysiasts, none of the ensuing police investigation and media circus would have happened. Were I a college athletic director, and found out that one of my coaches had so failed to teach character that his team went out and hired ecdysiasts to spice up an after-the-game party, I'd fire that coach. The very idea of hiring an ecdysiast, whether any criminal act took place later on or not, is unbecoming a gentleman and prejudicial to the athletic program's image. Cancelling the lax season is entirely appropriate, for the same reason. As to the suspension, I cannot comment more on that--I don't know the particulars. But whoever booked those ecdysiasts would rate a suspension in my book on that ground alone.

That said, nothing infuriates me more than does a mischarriage of justice. And that is what appears to be in the making. Bad judgment--even disgustingly bad judgment--on the part of those boys does not excuse a county prosecutor pressing a case for political reasons even though the case falls to the ground. And no one, outside of Rush Limbaugh (at the time of this posting), has asked whether that ecdysiast might be lying.

The lesson for all young men is one that they should have learned long ago: don't indulge such an appetite, and you won't get hurt. Right now, I don't think that any rape or assault occurred. But I do mind those boys making jackasses of themselves by hiring those ecdysiasts in the first place.

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