They deserved it....because they were rich?

Jonathan Garthwaite
Posted: Apr 12, 2007 10:36 AM

Terry Moran, a reporter with ABCNews doesn't think we should feel sorry for the falsely accused Duke lacrosse players because they attended a party where strippers were present and have wealthy parents.

"...perhaps the outpouring of sympathy for Reade Seligman, Collin Finnerty and David Evans is just a bit misplaced. They got special treatment in the justice system--both negative and positive. The conduct of the lacrosse team of which they were members was not admirable on the night of the incident, to say the least. And there are so many other victims of prosecutorial misconduct in this country who never get the high-priced legal representation and the high-profile, high-minded vindication that it strikes me as just a bit unseemly to heap praise and sympathy on these particular men.

So as we rightly cover the vindication of these young men and focus on the genuine ordeal they have endured, let us also remember a few other things:

- They were part of a team that collected $800 to purchase the time of two strippers.
- Their team specifically requested at least one white stripper.
- During the incident, racial epithets were hurled at the strippers.
- Colin Finnerty was charged with assault in Washington, DC, in 2005.
- The young men were able to retain a battery of top-flight attorneys, investigators and media strategists.

As students of Duke University or other elite institutions, these young men will get on with their privileged lives. There is a very large cushion under them--the one that softens the blows of life for most of those who go to Duke or similar places, and have connections through family, friends and school to all kinds of prospects for success. They are very differently situated in life from, say, the young women of the Rutgers University women's basketball team."

The point he is probably trying to make is that a lot of average folks might have been railroaded right into a prison statement because the D.A. would not have been sufficiently challenged.   He's probably correct but it should not cloud the fact that these young boys were falsely accussed by a very questionable accuser and were being fitted for a jailhouse wardrobe without so much as a ounce of evidence being presented.   

As one of your colleagues often says, "Gimme a break."

That being said, I hope all the men - and women - out there headed off to college this fall will take note of what can happen to anyone if you're in the wrong place at the wrong time. 

As Ann Coulter said a year ago, "Lie down with strippers, wake up with pleas"

However the Duke lacrosse rape case turns out, one lesson that absolutely will not be learned is this: You can severely reduce your chances of having a false accusation of rape leveled against you if you don't hire strange women to come to your house and take their clothes off for money.

Also, you can severely reduce your chances of being raped if you do not go to strange men's houses and take your clothes off for money. (Does anyone else detect a common thread here?)

And if you are a girl in Aruba or New York City, among the best ways to avoid being the victim of a horrible crime is to not get drunk in public or go off in a car with men you just met. While we're on the subject of things every 5-year-old should know, I also recommend against dousing yourself in gasoline and striking a match.

Everyone makes mistakes, especially young people, but the outpouring of support for the victims and their families is obscuring what ought to be a flashing neon warning for potential future victims.