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.
Already we may be witness to Nifong's dubious offspring in Cupertino, Calif., where a nearly unconscious 17-year-old girl was sexually ravished at a party by a De Anza College baseball player while several teammates stood by watching. The girl's face was covered with vomit -- not her own -- by the time three other young women burst into the room, rescued her from a mattress on the floor and took her to the hospital.
To any sane mind, a drunk, semi-conscious girl on the receiving end of sexual intercourse doesn't sound like consensual sex, yet the Santa Clara County district attorney has decided not to pursue charges. The problem, she says, is that everyone involved was drinking, including witnesses -- and the girl remembers nothing -- making it difficult to prove lack of consent.
What any reasonable person knows, of course, is that anyone too drunk to wipe someone else's vomit from her face is too drunk to give consent. We also can assume that Nifong, given a similar scenario, would have prosecuted this case (with our blessings) and been declared a hero.
Instead, his abuse of the justice system, indicting three innocent men for his own political gain, may have set the stage for other guilty parties to walk free and at least one 17-year-old girl, thus far, to be denied access to justice. California Attorney General Jerry Brown is investigating the case to determine whether charges should be brought.
Meanwhile, as feminists try to repair the damage they and Nifong have done to the cause of real rape victims, other co-dependents in this folie a plusieurs should avoid feeling smug as the curtain drops in Durham. A little self-examination would seem to be in order, beginning with Duke.
The university recently settled with the three accused lacrosse players for an undisclosed sum in a move that insulates faculty from any claims of liability. Such is cheap grace. If the university really wants to redeem itself, a better remedy would be for university President Richard Brodhead to institute a new academic program to examine how totalitarian, politically correct groupthink is destroying America's institutions of higher learning.
Duke can write the textbook.