Duke Lacrosse: NO DNA!

Mary Katharine Ham
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Posted: Apr 10, 2006 3:13 PM

So, I was writing a post this morning about how I was so ashamed of my hometown for convicting 46 lacrosse players of rape and battery in the court of public opinion before any of them had been charged. I was going to give y'all all the evidence in the case that makes myself and others in Durham skeptical about the allegations.

I was going to tell you all about the political climate in Durham and how it's such a travesty that those who are tearing the races apart do it in the name of "healing" conversations and rallies and new diversity programs.

I was going to tell you how I thought it was so sad that the reputations of all those boys', the University, and the game of lacrosse had been tarnished forever because of my activist town's need to march and feel guilty about being white. All before anyone had been charged.

I was going to tell you how I wished we could just let the justice system work in this case, because at most, only three of those boys were guilty and they did not all deserve to be smeared.

I'll probably still finish that post and write all about that.

But right now, I'll just tell you that the lacrosse players' defense attorney says the 46 DNA samples taken from the players returned NO MATCHES.

DURHAM, N.C. -- DNA testing failed to connect any members of the Duke University lacrosse team to the alleged rape of a striper, attorneys for the athletes said Monday.

Citing DNA test results delivered by the state crime lab to police and prosecutors a few hours earlier, the attorneys said the test results prove their clients did not sexually assault and beat a stripper hired to perform at a March 13 team party.

No charges have been filed in the case.

"No DNA material from any young man was present on the body of this complaining woman," said defense attorney Wade Smith.

The alleged victim, a 27-year-old student at nearby North Carolina Central University, told police she and another woman were hired to dance at the party. The woman told police that three men at the party dragged her into a bathroom, choked her, raped her and sodomized her.

Authorities ordered 46 of the 47 players on Duke's lacrosse team to submit DNA samples to investigators. Because the woman said her attackers were white, the team's sole black player was not tested.

District Attorney Mike Nifong stopped speaking with reporters last week after initially talking openly about the case, including stating publicly that he was confident a crime occurred. He went on to say he would have other evidence to make his case should the DNA analysis prove inconclusive or fail to match a member of the team.

Smith said Nifong now has the evidence needed to change his mind.

"He doesn't have to do it," Smith said of filing charges. "He is a man with discretion. He doesn't have to do it, and we hope that he won't."

Keep an eye on this, folks. The D.A. has made such a big issue of this--not in small part because he's up for election, I would imagine-- that he can't help but charge some of these guys with something. A lack of DNA evidence doesn't necessarily mean a rape case can't be brought, but there is also apparently some photographic evidence that the dancer was bruised and scraped before she got to the party.

I just hope the press will trumpet these DNA results the same way it has trumpeted the allegations against these guys.