Kathleen Parker

WASHINGTON -- Mike Nifong, the Durham County, N.C., district attorney made infamous by his own hand, has been shamed, disbarred and let out the back door for his unethical conduct of the so-called Duke University lacrosse team rape case.

It couldn't have happened to a more-deserving fellow, but the case doesn't end here. Nifong's legacy, which ultimately may hurt women more than the falsely accused men, will be long-lived. And the politically correct culture that allowed his charade to persist remains securely in place, while those who enabled Nifong walk scot-free.

Which is to say, before we applaud the tragedy's finale, we might ask Lady Macbeth if she can recommend a good soap.

It is tempting to convince oneself that Nifong's banishment means that all is right in the Dukedom. Doubtless, many among Duke's faculty and administration, as well as random race-baiters, campus feminists, various reporters, commentators and assorted armchair prosecutors would prefer that no one remember their roles in advancing the Nifong farce. (KC Johnson, Brooklyn College history professor, has it all on his Durham-in-Wonderland blog.)

But they shouldn't get off so easily. All were participants in the scurrilous witch hunt that unfolded during the past year. All were congregants in the PC Church that sanctifies certain groups as unassailable victims (all minorities and females) and others as condemnable perps (all males, but especially descendants of history's white oppressors).

From the beginning, when an African-American stripper -- alternately known as a "working mother and college student'' -- claimed that three lacrosse players had raped her, few questioned whether she might be lying or that the men might be telling the truth. A spirit of retributive justice prevailed while feminist law professor Wendy Murphy summarized the zeitgeist on CNN's "The Situation Room'': "I never, ever met a false rape claim, by the way. My own statistics speak to the truth.''

Really. Even after it became clear that there were problems with the case -- no DNA match, no witnesses, logistical impossibilities, a ``victim'' who couldn't get her story straight and contrary evidence impugning her claims -- rape victim advocates continued their defense.

Thanks to these activists and Nifong -- and the dancer who cried wolf -- real rape victims may be reluctant to come forward. Others may not get their day in court as intimidated prosecutors anticipate defeat before jurors jaded by the Duke spectacle.


Kathleen Parker

Kathleen Parker is a syndicated columnist with the Washington Post Writers Group.
 
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