My Current Thoughts on the Duke Rape Case

Over at Rachel’s Tavern I am answering some of the emails I have gotten in my new monthly mailbag post. In this post here at Alas, I am going to post my response to the most common questions I have been getting, which are of course about the Duke Rape case.

I have gotten numerous emails on this subject, so I figure I should give a general statement on the case. Mostly people have been asking why I haven’t been posting and if my lack of posts indicates that I now believe that these “boys” are innocent. There are a few reasons I haven’t been posting. First, the information on the case has been slow to trickle out, so I have decided only to update when there are big developments in the case. Second, the vast majority of the recent stories on the case have involved leaks from the defense, which I don’t consider newsworthy. They have routinely leaked information to try to spin the case in their favor, which is of course the job of the defense attorneys, but they simultaneously refuse to release the actual documents for the media to review. In fact, there was a really good story in the NY Times today with the following quote:

“I have no doubt that Mike believes her,” said H. Wood Vann, a lawyer in Durham who once represented the woman in a joy-riding case and has also done general legal work for her parents. Mr. Vann said that he wanted to give her the benefit of the doubt but that few other people in town do, and he added that many wonder why Mr. Nifong persists.

“At some point in time he’s going to have to get to a tipping point,” Mr. Vann said. “His case is going to hell in public opinion. He’s suffering death by a thousand cuts.”

Mr. Nifong’s silence makes it impossible to evaluate the case as a whole. Certainly some evidence has not been revealed … the next hearing is set for June 22 … and the defense has released evidence selectively, presumably showing only those parts that strengthen its public position.

I generally agree with that quote. The Prosecutor is losing in the court of public opinion, and that is because the only chatter we hear is from defense attorneys, who would have people believe that there is no grounds whatsoever for this case. If the case was as groundless as they claim, then the grand jury and/or the judge would have intervened. You’ll have to pardon me if I am a little skeptical of defense attorneys claims, especially since we are hearing them with no rebuttal. That also leads to the third reason I have not been putting up as many posts on the case.

I am relatively certain that the defense attorneys are reading these blogs trying to figure out what will stick with people, and I didn’t want my blog to be used as a means for them to test the jury pool. In fact, I suspect that one of the emails I received was from someone close to the defense in this case (I could be wrong, but that is my guess.) The defense in this case is a vast well oiled machine. In fact, one of the best articles on this matter came out in the Washington Post. The articles is called “Lacrosse Players Case a Trial for Parents,” and it shows you how powerful the families in this case are.

Now I’d be liar if I didn’t say I think the defense team is winning the court of public opinion, but I also know that the DA has been firm in maintaining his support for the victim and this case will be tried in a court of law, not the court of public opinion (which is the other reason my posts have been a little sparse lately). The defense team seems to be taking the condemning the condemners strategy in what appears to be an attempt to keep this case from going to trial. I assume they are thinking that if they taunt the victim and the prosecutor enough the charges will be dropped.

So there you have it those are my current thoughts on the case…..if you want to read an extended version of the mailbag, you can come over to Rachel’s Tavern.

This entry posted in Duke Rape Case, Prostitution, Porn and Sex Work, Rape, intimate violence, & related issues. Bookmark the permalink. 

60 Responses to My Current Thoughts on the Duke Rape Case

  1. Pingback: feminist blogs

  2. 2
    Mark Peterson says:

    I agree that defense “leaks” almost always need to be taken with a grain of salt. But these aren’t exactly leaks–they’re motions to the court, that have contained significant amounts of proesecution material. The most recent filing, for instance, contained the initial statement of the second dancer, the statement of the man who drove the accuser to the party, the statement of the first police officer to interview of the accuser, and a summary of apparently weak medical evidence that the defense asked the judge to unseal.

    In a normal case, this type of evidence should be very strong for the prosecution. Instead, it almost entirely helps the defense. That has to raise questions about the quality of the prosecution’s decisionmaking process.

  3. 3
    Rachel S. says:

    Well Mark I’m a little skeptical of that based on this quote from the Times article.

    But defense lawyers say the records reveal no such thing. This week, two of the lawyers, J. Kirk Osborn and Ernest L. Conner Jr., attached the 23 pages of medical reports to a motion. The records were sealed, but the lawyers described them in an affidavit, saying the sexual assault nurse had not concluded that the woman’s injuries were consistent with rape.

    So th 23 pages of records were sealed, but the lawyers described them. I thought that was a key point.

  4. 4
    RonF says:

    The defense leaks and spins. The prosecution gets a Grand Jury indictment, but in a Grand Jury proceeding only the prosecution gets to present a case, and the standard is much lower than in a criminal trial. Nothing to see here, folks. Not yet. Be patient and wait until you see what’s presented at trial before you rush to judgement.

  5. 5
    Mark Peterson says:

    It’s true that the lawyers described the medical report–it would have been highly improper, I think, for them to simply release it without authorization from the judge, because of medical privacy issues. And it’s entirely possible that they described the medical report in a way that will be contradicted once the judge authorizes its release. In that case, though, they’re incompetent, and if these defense lawyers have proven nothing else, they’re not incompetent.

    They did release in their entirety the Kim Roberts initial statement, the drivers’ statement, and the police officer’s statement. I think everyone, including me, assumed that these statements would help the prosecution, would be key to the prosecution’s case. Instead, they help the defense. If the defense isn’t lying about the medical report–and we’ll find out soon enough, one way or the other–it’s hard to see what other evidence the prosecution would have, other than the accuser’s word. And since in this particular case, the accuser has given multiple versions, her stand-alone credibility is questionable.

    This is all Nifong’s fault: he should have dealt with these issues preemptively and explained away the shortcomings, rather than simply dumping the material on the defense and allowing the defense to release the documents, as, of course, the defense has gleefully done.

  6. 6
    brett says:

    > If the case was as groundless as they claim, then the grand jury and/or the judge would have intervened.

    You sure are an expert on the legal system..

  7. 7
    mike green says:

    As to whether the defense motion should have included the entirety of the medical report, I don’t believe that is allowed under the law. Medical records can’t be released without the permission of the the subject, the cusser, or court order. But the judge, and the trier of fact can see them, so if the defence is lying or materially misrepresenting them, it would be gros incompetence, and like the corrospondent above noted, this is unlikely. Further, given the witnesses own belated admission ( she initially denied having sex with anyone within a week of the alleged rape) that she had sex with 4 men other then the players near the time of the alleged attack, and that she had peformed sex acts with toys on the evening of the Duke party, prior to her arrival and alleged rape. This would make a determination of rape highly suspect only trauma could be evaluated, in this case by an uncertified SANE nurse in-training. Thus, the medical evidence of trauma, especially minor would in no way be dispositive of rape.

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  9. 8
    Brandi says:

    This case has had problems since the very beginning! And even I was skeptical after hearing the 911 tape from the second dancer in which she referred to being in a car driving by and walking by with her “black friend”. People just don’t talk like that! I have several friends, and I do not refer to them by their ethnic backgrounds. The evidence in this case for the prosecution is weak to say the least. It is my opinion that, perhaps the players DID in fact use racial slurs and remarks when the girls were inside, and that this alleged rape claim is a way to “get back” at them. It is true, that more facts will come out at trial….but the law in Durham dictates that the prosecutor must hand over ALL the evidence….so everyone’s hope of a “smoking gun” is highly unlikely. This case will be dropped before going to trial…I am confident of that. Otherwise, the trust in the judicial system that is still recovering from the OJ Simpson disaster, will be lost again. The real crime here appears to be the damaging of the reputations of three boys who do not deserve it.

  10. 9
    Dave says:

    As Brett stated:
    “> If the case was as groundless as they claim, then the grand jury and/or the judge would have intervened.

    You sure are an expert on the legal system.. ”

    …the judge can’t unilaterally intervene at this point and a grand jury only hears the prosecution’s case. The defense isn’t even allowed to attend and only select evidence is used.
    Regardless, a prosecutor’s job is not to seek convictions but rather to find the truth. The media and time have eroded that distinction, but it’s an important one. I have no idea what happened that night, but Nifong has conducted himself in a manner that appears more political than any thing else and has allowed the appearance of justice and a fair process to be eroded.

  11. 10
    Don says:

    You are right Dave. All the evidence has to be handed over to the defense by now so if there’s anything that Nilfong is witholding (smoking gun) then it’s against the rules.

    I think this case had everything to do with Nilfong trying to win an election (which he did).

    Now that the truth is coming out, Nilfong is too stubborn to admit that he made a mistake.

    Really unfortunate but that’s how life works.

  12. 11
    RonF says:

    So, here we are. The complainant (it’s starting to look like “rape victim” is no longer a properly descriptive term) recants part of her testimony, and the DNA analysts apparently conspired with the District Attorney to withhold exclupatory evidence.

    A thorough investigation should still continue to determine exactly what happened here. And then another investigation should occur to take a very close look at the conduct of the District Attorney, to see if his concern for re-election overcame his concern for justice. There is certainly evidence, at least, that the latter may well have occurred.

    One statement from the above gives me pause:

    Testing also showed that genetic material from several males was found in her undergarments and body.

    DNA from several males was found in her body, or on her body? Does anyone know if the above is true, or an example of lax editorial standards by the AP?

  13. 12
    RonF says:

    Unfortunately, I cannot leave comments open for discussion because too many white supremacist and misogynist comments are left on this subject, but for now check out the link above.

    Come, now. Like they didn’t before, when this was looking like an egregious example of class- and race-related rape? But now that it’s looking like this didn’t fit the preconceived judgements of people whose political and social viewpoints you support, all of a sudden you can’t handle comments? You may not put much stock in my opinion, Rachel, but I’ll give it anyway. I don’t think this reflects well on you at all. What are you afraid of? Why, now, do you have to hide? If you want to be viewed as a leader when things are going your way, show some leadership when they don’t.

  14. 13
    Q Grrl says:

    Ron has a point.

  15. 14
    Abyss2hope says:

    RonF:

    The complainant (it’s starting to look like “rape victim” is no longer a properly descriptive term) recants part of her testimony

    You are premature in making this judgment. There is a huge difference between not being able to remember some details (penetration) now and recanting. Using these as if they are the same makes an unfounded judgment about this alleged victim.

    Since the alleged victim was unconsious when she was brought in and was possibly under the influence according to reports that can have a huge impact on what she might recall when interviewed that night and what would be a clear recollection now. It’s very possible that the lack of DNA evidence has her second guessing her memories.

  16. 15
    Radfem says:

    I can understand not dealing with an onslaught of White-supremacist and/or misogynist comments on a topic thread. I haven’t had many lately but I’m probably closing off my comments during the holidays because I wouldn’t want to be hit with any during that time.

    Maybe open it up after the holidays, or when you’ve done a longer analysis on it?

    Maybe do comment moderation? Or maybe just have the discussion take place on this thread as has already happened. There are different ideas that are possible to implement.

    It’s Rachel S.’s choice, but by all means, keep throwing the personal accusations and insults out there. That’s what seems to dominate threads here now a days anyway. And from what I’ve read of Rachel S. here, whether you disagree with her or not, she’s treated everyone here with a great deal of respect in her comments and has taken them seriously even when they’ve behaved like asses. She’s a lot nicer than some of us here, not that this prevents her from being subjected to childish and nasty comments intended to foster suspicion towards her attentions, herself.

  17. 16
    Wolfrum says:

    There is also a huge difference between “distinctly telling a medical examiner that multiple penises penetrated her vagina, anus and mouth, including at least one ejaculation that was subsequently spit on the floor” and now not remembering whether any penis was used in the assault whatsoever, whether with penetration or without.

  18. 17
    Abyss2hope says:

    RonF:

    You may not put much stock in my opinion, Rachel, but I’ll give it anyway. I don’t think this reflects well on you at all. What are you afraid of? Why, now, do you have to hide? If you want to be viewed as a leader when things are going your way, show some leadership when they don’t.

    Frankly, I find this deeply disturbing. This alleged victim isn’t some rope in an ideological tug of war. I’m sure Rachel, like many others who haven’t fallen in with the “She’s a liar” crowd wants this alleged victim to have a fair shot at justice just as the defendants have a fair shot at justice.

    If anything this development shows that these defendants aren’t defenseless victims as many people have painted them to be.

  19. 18
    Wolfrum says:

    “This alleged victim isn’t some rope in an ideological tug of war.”

    Wow! You really do live in a closet!

  20. 19
    Q Grrl says:

    Since the alleged victim was unconsious when she was brought in

    She was not unconscious when she filed her original police report, nor had she lost consciousness up the that point.

    Just sayin.

    I’m curious about the impact of her pregnancy/new baby on her willingness to go to trial with this. She has two kids already, was trying to go to school, and was stripping for money. I would think all-in-all that she might be overwhelmed.

  21. 20
    Abyss2hope says:

    Q Grrl, she was unconscious (or so far out of it that she wasn’t fully conscious) at the grocery store when the security guard called 911. That was before a police report was filed.

  22. 21
    Wolfrum says:

    … reported to be unconscious …

  23. 22
    Abyss2hope says:

    Since the news reports seem to be putting a spin on what happened, I think it’s worth reading the official document filed by the prosecutor’s office.

    Their rape laws are explicit that for it to be rape, the defendant’s penis must have been put in alleged victim’s vagina. Without that, a sexual assault isn’t a rape. FYI it sounds like men can’t be raped in Durham.

  24. 23
    Wolfrum says:

    In NC, sexual assault carries virtually the same sentencing guidelines as rape.

  25. 24
    The Chief says:

    Anybody else find the timing of this suspect? Nifong chooses today to drop these charges. The Friday before a Christmas on Monday. When most people are out getting in their last minute Christmas shopping and aren’t following the news very closely.

    I’ll give Nifong this, he’s a political opportunist of Clintonian proportions. Apparently a lousy prosecutor, apparently a man with no shame, but a great politician.

  26. 25
    Rachel S. says:

    Hey RonF,
    Just to prove my point to you. I’m not going to give the name of the idiot who left this comment, but I just deleted this on from the archives:

    Get real, this has gone on long enough. Anyone with even half a brain knows this was brought by a drunk slut who has no idea what if anything happened to her. And her accomplice is a DA who would have never been elected if he had not greased up and bent over for the Black poverty pimps.

    I’ve been following this story long enough to know what happens. You don’t know how many comments like the one above (and worse) Amp or I have deleted. The comments have been like this almost from the beginning, since most of the readers don’t have the pleasure of reading this stuff I would appreciate some respect for my judgement.

    When I write a longer piece and have time to very diligently monitor comments, I’ll turn them back on. In the meantime, I want to enjoy my holiday without having to watch out for bigots. I think I deserve at least one day of that.

  27. 26
    Wolfrum says:

    Um, Rachel, the wording is over the top, but the gist is dead on.

  28. 27
    Robert says:

    I don’t think you owe anybody anything, Rachel (other than the usual human decency/social contract stuff), and you’re certainly entitled to a holiday weekend without having to filter unpleasant comments. But that being the case, I’m uncertain why you posted at all.

    You don’t owe me an explanation of that :)

  29. 28
    mythago says:

    but the gist is dead on.

    What gist is that? That women who drink alcohol, have sex, or strip for money can never be raped and they’re lying if they say they were? That there are “Black poverty pimps” who control the prosecutor’s office? (Many black community leaders in other urban areas would be keenly interested in knowing how this miracle was accomplished.)

  30. 29
    Wolfrum says:

    The gist is:

    Drunk? Yes and drugged.

    “slut”? She is an escort, so yes.

    “has no idea what happened to her”? That is what Nifong’s filing today says.

    “Nifong greased up and bent over for the Black poverty pimps”? He most definitely waged his election campaign in deference to black voters. (I am guessing you do not live in the South if you do not think that a good many Blacks have major political clout both inside and beyond their communities.)

    I do not see anything in the subject comment that declares explicitly, nor even implies, that such women “can never be raped and they’re lying if they say they were”. Perhaps you would be so kind as to indicate the phrases of which you speak.

  31. 30
    mythago says:

    She is an escort, so yes.

    Oh dear. Wouldn’t that make her a whore, rather than a slut? And what about the Duke lacrosse players who hired her–did they mistakenly think they were paying for a G-rated singing telegram?

    I can’t help you if you choose not to see the implication that being intoxicated or an escort means a) can’t be raped, b) if rape is claimed must be lying or c) both.

    I am guessing you do not know much about “Blacks” if you think that having political clout means that D.A.s everywhere are slaves to the local version of Al Sharpton.

  32. 31
    Wolfrum says:

    Must we really debate the difference between a “whore” and a “slut”? I think not.

    “what about the Duke lacrosse players who hired her–did they mistakenly think they were paying for a G-rated singing telegram?” Yes, what about them? They called an escort service to hire a stripper. I do not think anyone is denying that.

    “I can’t help you…” You are correct there; you cannot help me see something that is not there.

    Where did I (or even the original comment) say “that having political clout means that D.A.s everywhere are slaves to the local version of Al Sharpton”? In some districts, the DA is a political leader; in others, the DA is a political flunky; in (most) all districts, the DA is most definitely political and serves at the whim of voters.

    You seem to be putting a lot of words in others’ mouths that simply are not there.

  33. 32
    Wolfrum says:

    BTW, your mode of debate, mythago, is what is commonly known as “building strawmen” and is further commonly regarded as “trolling”.

  34. 33
    Thucydides says:

    DNA from several males was found in her body, or on her body? Does anyone know if the above is true, or an example of lax editorial standards by the AP?

    .

    Yes, it is true. What is even worse is prosecution concealed this evidence from the defense until December. This came out in a hearing on December 15.

    The real victim in this saga is the three accused men. While they showed tremendous irresponsibility, their conduct does not justify a reckless and politically motivated prosecution. The DA has withheld evidence, refused to examine exculpatory evidence, and refused to question the accuser until recently in attempt to keep the case alive. This shows a terrifying abuse of power and deserves an investigation by the Department of Justice. Just imagine the consequence if the parents of these boys lacked the financial means to provide them with quality defense attorneys.

  35. 34
    Ampersand says:

    Wolfrum:

    Um, Rachel, the wording is over the top, but the gist is dead on.

    Even if this were true – and I don’t think it is – why should we ignore the wording? Words, and the tone they carry, matter. Tone is part of content. If they want to post using those words and that tone, let them do so elsewhere. If they want to use phrasing that implicitly endorses both misogyny (“drunk slut”) and racism (“Black poverty pimps”), let them do so elsewhere.

    BTW, your mode of debate, mythago, is what is commonly known as “building strawmen” and is further commonly regarded as “trolling”.

    You’re mistaken about what “trolling” commonly means, if you think Mythago’s comments here are trolling. Nor were her arguments strawmen arguments, imo.

    Let’s look again at the comment Rachel (correctly) deleted:

    Get real, this has gone on long enough. Anyone with even half a brain knows this was brought by a drunk slut who has no idea what if anything happened to her. And her accomplice is a DA who would have never been elected if he had not greased up and bent over for the Black poverty pimps.

    You wrote:

    I do not see anything in the subject comment that declares explicitly, nor even implies, that such women “can never be raped and they’re lying if they say they were”.

    Mythago arguably exaggerated, but at least she correctly comprehended a short paragraph — something you failed to do.

    The first sentence in the paragraph is the most crucial one (and is entirely ignored in your analysis in comment #29): “Get real, this has gone on long enough.” This is the thesis statement that the subsequent sentences are attempting to support; you can’t understand the gist of the paragraph if you ignore this sentence. What this sentence indicates is that, in the author’s opinion, it would be wrong to extend the investigation and trial into the alleged rape any further than it has already gone.

    The second sentence, structurally, is attempting to provide support for the thesis laid out by the first sentence. When the author writes “this [rape charge] was brought by a drunk slut,” the clear implication is that rape charges brought by “drunk sluts” should not be taken seriously; the mere fact that the alleged victim was a “drunk slut” is, in the author’s view, reason to believe that this rape case “has gone on long enough” and should not be continued.

    This is what Mythago was referring to. Given the context, it makes no sense to this author to mention that the complaintent is a “drunk slut” unless they are saying that her being a “drunk slut” makes her claim of being raped less credible.

    “has no idea what happened to her”? That is what Nifong’s filing today says.

    You might as well say that if I know I was beat up, but I’m confused about if I was beaten with metal pipes or aluminum baseball bats, I therefore have no idea what happened to me.

    As for “slaves,” the phrase “greased up and bent over” obviously implies that Nifong is not merely trying to appeal to black voters, but is in fact being submissive to or dominated by black voters. It’s not clear that this is the case, and even if it were, so what? (By the way, do you really see NOTHING objectionable in calling black voters “poverty pimps”?)

    You seem to be putting a lot of words in others’ mouths that simply are not there.

    Nonsense. You’re just refusing to acknowledge the obvious meaning of the paragraph. Doing a phrase-by-phrase analysis but not acknowledging the important context provided by the first sentence — which is what you did in comment #29 — results in an inaccurate reading. Mythago, because she read not only the phrases but saw what they meant in context, more successfully understood what was there than you did.

  36. 35
    Dukegirl says:

    I am a junior at Duke. At the time, I completely believed the accuser. Knowing the reputation and observing the behavior of these players for the past 2 years, I would not put it past them (not all of them but being called a black nigger bitch by certain players does not put them on my good side) to do this. I am saddened that it has sullied the reputation of my school, but I am glad we are talking about these issues. If anyone knows anything about my school, we have some serious social problems that preceded this whole incident. Now, it is coming out that it is not as the rape victim’s supporters believed, and I am sad for women everywhere because the voice of rape victims everywhere, I believe, has been silenced once again.

  37. 36
    Wolfrum says:

    I believe our miscommunication lies in the word ‘gist’, which I meant in the sense of ‘the core of the comment’. As I originally wrote, yes, “the wording is over the top”, but none of what you, Ampersand, nor mythago allege is explicitly stated nor implied. Yes, reading between the lines, you can imagine what you will, but ‘reading between the lines’ is not the same as recognizing an implication.

    Let us not polarize ourselves over this issue. With very little doubt, I think something in the way of a sexual assault occurred that night. However, as our present exchange illustrates, both sides of this public debate tend to impress stereotypes into the words of the opposition.

    This case HAS gone on too long; the charges should have been dropped long ago. The evidence simply is not there. Despite my belief that some crime occurred, I have to be a realist as well; nothing can be proved, and the crux of American jurisprudence (as opposed to the horribly abused word “justice”) is to prefer to let a guilty person walk free than imprison one who MAY be innocent.

    Forget that “she is lying about the rape because she’s a hooker” sentiment. It is immaterial. The cretins who do hold to that sentiment do not count, and overall, their numbers are few; the vast bulk of those supporting the accused are not even using that as an argument. Yet, those who support the accuser constantly impress that sentiment onto every dissenting remark (when it is not there) and raise it as a strawman. In doing so, they are the ones who give credibility to the cretins, and the vicious cycle begins.

    Like any other controversy, the gap will not close if neither side listens to what precisely the other side claims, if both sides continually presume “well, this what they REALLY mean”. Read what they actually say and understand that. If you think their hyperbole is masking a deeper sentiment, challenge them to re-express their views without the bombast. Don’t put words into their mouths; let them say what they mean.

  38. 37
    Abyss2hope says:

    Dukegirl, what is coming out isn’t undermining the allegations of gang rape in the sense of proving the overall allegation to be false. Also not being able to prove a specific charge beyond a reasonable doubt is not the same as proving that specific charge is based on a lie.

    The defense team spin has been breathtaking, but that doesn’t make it unbiased reporting of the truth. My local news just announced that the alleged victim admitted she isn’t sure she was raped after all and so the rape charges were dropped. This is a huge distortion of what really happened and a key reason I take nothing publicly released about this case at face value.

    Having survived rape and later being an advocate with rape victims as they went through the process of evidence collection and reporting to law enforcement, I know that there is a huge difference between what happened and what gets proven in a court of law.

    Defense teams are needed, but they are looking out for nobody but the interests of their clients. If a rape victim gets labeled a lying slut, that’s good news for them even if they know she is telling the unvarnished truth.

  39. 38
    Robert says:

    Dukegirl, what is coming out isn’t undermining the allegations of gang rape in the sense of proving the overall allegation to be false.

    Well, it’s fairly difficult to prove that an allegation is false. (The closest anyone in this case comes is the kid with cell phone bills and ATM receipts and such that place him elsewhere.)

    Also not being able to prove a specific charge beyond a reasonable doubt is not the same as proving that specific charge is based on a lie.

    This is true. But the case has gone from seeming very strong (the victim reporting her rape PLUS physical evidence) to seeming essentially nonexistent, with the victim unable to recall what happened and the physical evidence being inconsistent with any of her stories.

    A fuzzy victim is not an insurmountable problem when there is other evidence. A fuzzy victim plus no evidence plus her own credibility problems plus the DAs obvious political maneuvering and outright malfeasance…that’s an insurmountable set of problems.

  40. 39
    Abyss2hope says:

    Robert:

    Well, it’s fairly difficult to prove that an allegation is false. (The closest anyone in this case comes is the kid with cell phone bills and ATM receipts and such that place him elsewhere.)

    That hasn’t stopped numerous people from making the claim that they know with absolute certainty that this woman premeditated a plot with the other dancer to destroy the lives of men she knows did nothing criminal. When facts disproved initial conspiracy theories those theories were massaged to fit what couldn’t be disputed.

    It seems that for many people facts are only important when it comes to the case against alleged rapists. Facts are frequently optional when it comes to labeling alleged rape victims liars.

    The cell phone bills and ATM receipts might give an alibi but they are not evidence of a false allegation since one of the issues in this case has been the line up. Since the taxi driver who the defense supporters said gave an alibi also reportedly heard some of the players saying that she’s just a stripper and probably wouldn’t go to the police, any alibi as proof of false allegation is questionable at best.

  41. 40
    Abyss2hope says:

    Robert:

    This is true. But the case has gone from seeming very strong (the victim reporting her rape PLUS physical evidence) to seeming essentially nonexistent, with the victim unable to recall what happened and the physical evidence being inconsistent with any of her stories.

    The key word here is seeming. Perception does not equal reality. People who say the DA can’t be trusted frequently take what comes from the defense teams as gospel. But defense teams were hired to protect their clients interests not to expose objective truths about this case. Forgetting that hurts more than this one alleged victim, it hurts all rape victims who decide they couldn’t live through months or years of villification by those who side with alleged rapists.

    It isn’t this alleged victim who hurts future victims, it is those who don’t need pesky evidence before they savage the character of alleged victims.

  42. 41
    mythago says:

    Let us not polarize ourselves over this issue.

    If you don’t want to polarize the issue, why ally yourself with an extremely “polarized” racist and sexist comment about the case?

    Speaking of rhetorical games, it’s a very common (and old) trick to retreat into platitutes–we should all try to understand one another, look past the wording and really try to hear what the other side has to say, you’re just blinded by your partisanship (unlike Wolfram, the calm and wise mediator).

    Sorry. Amp is correct; you’re first pretending the rather explicit racism and sexism of the quoted comment isn’t there, and then urging us to look past it to see what the person ‘really meant’. You also construct your own strawmen by insisting that anyone who does not see this woman as untrustworthy and/or deserving of rape ab initio is a member of the Nifong Fan Club.

  43. 42
    greg mclauchlin says:

    Respectful question.

    As a father of a 20 year old daughter I am glad to see women such as yourself speaking out…..I have a question though. Where is your motivation to speak out against those who refer to women as bithches and whores and protray women as objects rather than human beings. The silence is deafening. Do you approve of such or are you just unaware.

  44. 43
    Rachel S. says:

    Greg,
    Why don’t you read through this blog, and you’ll find the answer to your question.

  45. 44
    LEC says:

    This is how I think Nifong continuing the case will hurt the accuser most of all. I think he is doing it in an effort to take some of the heat off of himself.

    The accuser has described in graphic detail what each of the accused did to her. In NC a forcible rape charge only covers rape with vaginal penetration by a penis. That was the only charge dropped. Anything else like oral and anal rape or use of an object would be considered sexual assault. The attachments to the defense motions contain some of the prosecutions evidence. One piece of evidence attached to a motion is the ID lineup video. I have watched the video as the alleged victim identifies each of the accused as well describes the specific acts that they performed. Based on her descriptions in the ID session there should be some DNA in or on the accuser. For example, she points to Reade Seligman and says he forces her to perform oral sex, he ejaculated, and she spit out the results. She also described the other two as having performed vaginal and/or anal sex. The report from DNASI which is attached to another defense motion indicates that no DNA from the accused or any Lacrosse player was in or on the accuser. In fact, it finds semen in her and on her clothing from unidentified men. The oral swab containted semen from one of these unidentified men but not DNA from any lacrosse player.

    There is a motion to suppress the ID scheduled for Feb 5 hearing where the accuser is scheduled to testify. Of course it may be delayed since that is when her baby is due. In the rape charge dismissal motion Nifong said they were dismissing the charges because the accuser could not say that any did what was required to meet the NC definition of forcible rape. That still leaves open what happened to the DNA for the oral and anal rape accusations. The defense will want her to provide an explanation for the inconsistancy of her descriptions of the acts performed in the ID session and the DNA evidence. I imagine the cross examination by the defense will be quite brutal. For justice to be served someone has to take the responsibility to explain the inconsistencies between her story and the DNA evidence. Nifong did not investigate before he indicted as he should have done. He is going to put the accuser on the hot seat now in front of the world. I just wonder if putting her on the stand under these circumstances is in her best interest? I wonder if she is getting good legal advice?

  46. 45
    Joe Ty says:

    I think arguing hard facts here will be useless. Mike Nifong colluded with his own DNA lab to hide the fact that none of the several sources of DNA found in and on the accuser matched the three accused nor one single Duke lax player. But, like the potbangers, so many are personally invested in the Duke 3 being guilty. As Chan Hall of NCCU said, they should be prosecuted even if nothing happened as payback for things that have happened in the past. The country has learned a lot about Durham County from this.

  47. 46
    Yohan says:

    Latest news about this case can be found here: (report by AP)

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20061222/ap_on_re_us/duke_lacrosse

  48. 47
    Abyss2hope says:

    Joe Ty, what are Chan Hall’s expert qualifications at evaluating all types of evidence related to sex crimes? How are we to know that he and you aren’t just potbangers with a different agenda?

  49. 48
    RonF says:

    O.K. I failed to make my questi0n clear, and it’s my fault. Was the DNA from several males found ON her body, or was the DNA of several males found IN her body. AP reported the former, but I was wondering if there was any DNA found in her. The question pertains to the issue of penetration.

    Abyss2hope said:

    “You are premature in making this judgment. There is a huge difference between not being able to remember some details (penetration) now and recanting. Using these as if they are the same makes an unfounded judgment about this alleged victim.”

    It seems to me that if at one point she testified “yes, I was penetrated by a penis” and now she says, “I don’t remember if I was or not”, she is recanting her surety that she was penetrated by a penis. Yes, it’s different than if she said “No, I wasn’t penetrated by a penis”, but she is still backing off of what was her explicit previous testimony.

    But if “recant” is too strong a word here, it’s not necessary to support my main point. When I said that it’s perhaps no longer properly descriptive to call her a rape victim, I was coming from the viewpoint that a) there is now no legal allegation that she was raped, and b) the complainant no longer alleges that she was raped. I’m not saying it’s impossible that she was raped, but at this point there’s no rape allegation based either on testimony or evidence. Until there is, I can’t see calling her a “rape victim”.

    Abyss2hope, in the general case I can see where you would not want people to presume the defense is more trustworthy than the DA. But in this particular case testimony in open court has shown that this DA is untrustworthy. I think that his actions in this case need to be examined by the bar association and the state’s Justice Department. It would be a damn shame if any crimes that were committed against this woman (if there were any) went unpunished because of Nifong’s acts and ambitions.

    As far as “drunk slut” goes, it’s immaterial. Whether or not she is indiscriminate regarding her choice and number of sex partners, and even whether or not she has taken money for sex, she has the same rights as a virgin as to whether or not to choose in any given situation to have sex. Although if she was drunk, it is a factor in considering how dependable her recollections of any details of what happened are.

    Finally; I do have sympathy for the concept that the primary concern in a sexual assault case (or in any other crime) should be for the victim, not for the perpetrators. But in this case we now have 3 men who were once accused of rape but now are not, and there seems to have been official misconduct involved. Under that circumstances I think those three men have a legitimate issue as to whether their rights were abused.

  50. 49
    Ampersand says:

    “Rape” is both a legal term and a word in the English Language.

    In Florida, one is not legally “raped” unless one is penetrated by a penis. However, in the English language, one can be “raped” by something other than a penis. In Florida courtrooms, such acts are legally called “sexual assault,” not “rape.”

    As I understand it, the legal “rape” charges has been dropped, but the “sexual assault” charges have not been dropped.

    Edited to add: Why did I say Florida? I am sooooo tired today….

  51. 50
    Abyss2hope says:

    RonF:

    It seems to me that if at one point she testified “yes, I was penetrated by a penis” and now she says, “I don’t remember if I was or not”, she is recanting her surety that she was penetrated by a penis. Yes, it’s different than if she said “No, I wasn’t penetrated by a penis”, but she is still backing off of what was her explicit previous testimony.

    This is still a distortion of what was contained in the filing dropping the rape charges. You can look at the statement here.

    If enough people say that evidence supposedly disproves something you remember clearly most people will begin to doubt their memory. That’s typical, not proof of a lie or false charges. This supposed evidence of a lie is also how people can be induced into making false confessions.

  52. 51
    Megalodon says:

    Edited to add: Why did I say Florida? I am sooooo tired today….

    Florida has conflated most penetrative sexual offenses under “sexual battery.”

    “Sexual battery” means oral, anal, or vaginal penetration by, or union with, the sexual organ of another or the anal or vaginal penetration of another by any other object; however, sexual battery does not include an act done for a bona fide medical purpose.

    2006->Ch0794->Section%20011#0794.011″>this site.

  53. 52
    Abyss2hope says:

    RonF:

    But in this particular case testimony in open court has shown that this DA is untrustworthy.

    Even if this is true that doesn’t make the defense trustworthy.

  54. 53
    Abyss2hope says:

    RonF:

    Finally; I do have sympathy for the concept that the primary concern in a sexual assault case (or in any other crime) should be for the victim, not for the perpetrators. But in this case we now have 3 men who were once accused of rape but now are not, and there seems to have been official misconduct involved. Under that circumstances I think those three men have a legitimate issue as to whether their rights were abused.

    You seem to be going back to the myth that men accused of rape who can afford to hire attorneys don’t have a chance at justice. If anyone is being railroaded in this case it is the alleged victim. This defense team and their many supporters have been engaging in psychological warfare against the alleged victim for months and there is no end in sight. No proof is needed to claim she is guilty of acts far worse than these players are accused of.

  55. 54
    Abyss2hope says:

    RonF:

    When I said that it’s perhaps no longer properly descriptive to call her a rape victim, I was coming from the viewpoint that a) there is now no legal allegation that she was raped, and b) the complainant no longer alleges that she was raped. I’m not saying it’s impossible that she was raped, but at this point there’s no rape allegation based either on testimony or evidence. Until there is, I can’t see calling her a “rape victim”.

    I notice you don’t suggest that she be called an alleged sexual assault victim which she still is. To fail to do so seems to be a deliberate decision to paint this alleged victim as a liar rather than any attempt at accuracy.

    By your standards no boys or men in NC have ever been raped and it is not properly descriptive to call them rape victims. Any man in NC who says he was raped is, by your standards, a liar.

  56. 55
    Megalodon says:

    By your standards no boys or men in NC have ever been raped and it is not properly descriptive to call them rape victims. Any man in NC who says he was raped is, by your standards, a liar.

    According to the North Carolina General Statutes,

    (a) A person is guilty of rape in the first degree if the person engages in vaginal intercourse:

    (1) With a victim who is a child under the age of 13 years and the defendant is at least 12 years old and is at least four years older than the victim; or

    (2) With another person by force and against the will of the other person, and:

    a. Employs or displays a dangerous or deadly weapon or an article which the other person reasonably believes to be a dangerous or deadly weapon; or

    b. Inflicts serious personal injury upon the victim or another person; or

    c. The person commits the offense aided and abetted by one or more other persons.

    There are no anatomical requirements for victim or perpetrator. The statute does not specify that the victim must be the one vaginally penetrated in order for the event to qualify as a rape, nor does it specify that the perpetrator must be the one with the penetrating appendage or committing the penetration.

    The rapist is the person who conscripts the other person into vaginal intercourse by “by force and against the will of the other person,” and the rape victim is the person forced into vaginal intercourse against his/her will.

    http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/EnactedLegislation/Statutes/HTML/BySection/Chapter_14/GS_14-27.2.html

  57. 56
    Abyss2hope says:

    Megaladon, thanks for the correction. According to RonF’s standard boys and men in NC who claim to be raped by a male are liars since there is no vaginal intercourse.

  58. 57
    Megalodon says:

    According to RonF’s standard boys and men in NC who claim to be raped by a male are liars since there is no vaginal intercourse.

    Yeah, I’m guessing the majority of sex crimes that afflict males in North Carolina (or any state) probably do not involve vaginal copulation, so such offenses would be classified as “sexual battery” or “sexual offense.”

  59. 58
    RonF says:

    “Even if this is true that doesn’t make the defense trustworthy.”

    True enough, and I didn’t mean to suggest otherwise.

    “You seem to be going back to the myth that men accused of rape who can afford to hire attorneys don’t have a chance at justice.”

    Amp, I do believe that’s a far cry from what I said. Where did I ever state, or even imply, that these three don’t have a chance at justice?

    “I notice you don’t suggest that she be called an alleged sexual assault victim which she still is.”

    I’d say it would be more accurately stated, “Which she still may be.” Whether she is has yet to be proved, but it’s certainly still a strong possibility. Which is why I said, “A thorough investigation should still continue to determine exactly what happened here.”, and differentiated that from additionally calling for an investigation of Nifong’s conduct of this case.

    “To fail to do so seems to be a deliberate decision to paint this alleged victim as a liar rather than any attempt at accuracy.” Nonsense. And in any case, if you asked me to line up all the principals in this case and point to the person most likely to have perpetrated lies, I’d point to Nifong. He may well have victimized this woman more than any of these frat boys did, ruining any chance she may have had to see justice served for any crimes that may have been committed against her.

    “By your standards no boys or men in NC have ever been raped and it is not properly descriptive to call them rape victims. Any man in NC who says he was raped is, by your standards, a liar.”

    We’re talking about rape charges being raised and dropped, and are thus talking about rape in the legal sense as defined in North Carolina.

  60. 59
    RonF says:

    O.K. I was trying to do a cut and paste and managed to fat-finger the “Submit Comment” button. In place of the last two paragraphs of the above comment, please see:

    Abyss2hope, you said in post 56

    “According to RonF’s standard boys and men in NC who claim to be raped by a male are liars since there is no vaginal intercourse.”

    My standards? You yourself said in post 22, “[North Carolina’s} rape laws are explicit that for it to be rape, the defendant’s penis must have been put in alleged victim’s vagina. Without that, a sexual assault isn’t a rape. FYI it sounds like men can’t be raped in Durham.” How did incorrect information that you provided become MY standards?