Quick Duke Update

Mary Katharine Ham
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Posted: May 24, 2006 1:58 PM

The rest of the national media has been pretty quiet about these developments in the Duke case: (emphasis mine)

The woman who has accused three members of the Duke University lacrosse team of raping her at an off-campus party told investigators several different stories about the night of the alleged incident, sources close to the defense team representing the players have told FOX News.

The differing accounts are included in the 1,300 pages of evidence delivered to defense lawyers last week by Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong, the sources said...

Defense sources also say the accuser admitted to having had sexual intercourse with at least three men around the time of the alleged attack. According to those sources, when investigators questioned her after DNA tests on the semen found inside her body did not match any of the Duke players, the accuser gave police the name of her boyfriend and two men who drove her to her dancing engagements...

According to the sources, the papers handed over by Nifong also reveal that the forensic nurse who did a gynecological exam on the accuser did not find abrasions, tears or bleeding in the vaginal area, which is often present in forcible rapes. They say she did find swelling in the vaginal area along with tenderness in the accuser's breasts and lower right quadrant.

If you'll remember, in the absence of any DNA evidence connecting the three indicted men to the dancer, the D.A. Mike Nifong had been placing a lot of emphasis on the nurse's assessment that the dancer's physical condition was "consistent with that of a rape or sexual assault victim." He's been repeating it like a mantra every time some kind of test comes back negative or another player announces an alibi.

Both La Shawn Barber and Betsy Newmark can't believe the D.A. is going forward with a case this full of holes.

The Duke women's lacrosse team, meanwhile, is showing where it stands on the issue. They'll wearing the word "innocent" on sweatbands during their appearance in the NCAA Final Four.

Obviously we want to win a national championship for ourselves, but definitely also for the university and the men's team," junior Leigh Jester said. "They don't really have a chance to play their season, which is a shame.

"We'd love to bring it home not only for ourselves, but also for them."

As a show of support for the three men's players who have been indicted on rape, kidnapping and sex-offense charges, the Blue Devils' players plan on wearing sweatbands with the word "innocent" on their arms or legs when they face Northwestern.

And women's coach Kerstin Kimel also had former men's coach Mike Pressler -- whose resignation on April 5 was welcomed by Duke's top leaders -- speak to the team after practice on Tuesday.

A couple of Duke lacrosse recruits have transferred, amidst the uncertainty:

The uncertainty surrounding the future of the Duke men's lacrosse program led the school to grant its seven incoming freshmen clearance to explore other options, and so far three have accepted offers to play at other schools next season.