Accuser In Duke Lacrosse Case Reported Previous Rape
DURHAM, N.C. -- The woman who says she was raped by three members of Duke's lacrosse team also told police 10 years ago she was raped by three men, filing a 1996 complaint claiming she had been assaulted three years earlier when she was 14.
Authorities in nearby Creedmoor said Thursday that none of the men named in the decade-old report was ever charged but they didn't have details why.
A phone number for the accuser has been disconnected and her family declined to comment to The Associated Press. But relatives told Essence magazine in an online story this week that the woman declined to pursue the case out of fear for her safety.
The existence of the report surprised defense attorneys, one of whom has sought information about the accuser's past for use in attacking her credibility.
"That's the very first I've heard of that," said Bill Cotter, the attorney for indicted lacrosse player Collin Finnerty, who along with fellow Duke sophomore Reade Seligmann is charged with first-degree rape, kidnapping and sexual assault. He declined additional comment.
Attorneys for Seligmann asked the court this week to order the state to turn over the accuser's medical, legal and education records, and hold a pretrial hearing to "determine if the complaining witness is even credible enough to provide reliable testimony."
The accuser, a 27-year-old student at North Carolina Central University in Durham, told police she was hired to perform as a stripper at a March 13 party, where she was raped by three men.
According to the Creedmoor police report in August 1996, when the woman was 18, she told officers she was raped and beaten by three men "for a continual time" in 1993, when she was 14. She told police she was attacked at an "unspecified location" on a street in Creedmoor, a town 15 miles northeast of Durham.
The report lists the names of the three men, but no other details. Creedmoor police Chief Ted Pollard said Thursday he had no recollection of the report, and his staff has been unable to find any additional information about it.
Durham police Officer Brian Bishop, who interviewed the accuser in 1996 while working on the Creedmoor force, said Thursday he had a vague recollection of the report but couldn't remember any details.
When asked about the accuser's previous report of rape, Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong declined to comment.
Before Seligmann and Finnerty were indicted, attorneys for the players pointed to the accuser's criminal history when answering questions about their clients' legal troubles. The woman pleaded guilty to several misdemeanors in 2002.
It must be like christmas for the defense team right now. I have no clue if those lawyers have been living virtuous lives or something (hell, they're lawyers. I figure there's no chance in hell of it.) but they've just been handed an unbelievable prize. A previous allegation against another three men who supposedly held, beat, and raped the accuser yet none of who were ever charged? It's exculpatory beyond belief. All it would take now is if in that case she also described her attackers as 'three white men' or something of the sort. I know some people don't like the Tawana Brawley redux comparrisons, but, hell, make of this what you will.
The most ironic part about this is that the defense had absolutely no knowledge that this had occurred. They were on a fishing expedition for her records, an attempt that I had been against from the beginning. Now it seems that maybe their instincts were right on the money, or perhaps that everyone gets lucky occassionally. It's also amazing that this information was revealed not by any source you would normally have expected to leak this bombshell. The mother apparently unveiled the information to Essence magazine, who has taken a very strong pro-accuser stance in a lot of their reporting, attempting to focus their efforts on getting out her story.
The mother of the alleged victim told ESSENCE magazine that her daughter did go away to a hospital in Raleigh, North Carolina, for about a week last year, where she was treated for a “nervous breakdown.” While the accuser’s parents did not say they knew what brought on the breakdown, they did say that their daughter was upset about mounting bills. The mother also told ESSENCE that when her daughter was 17 or 18, she was raped by several men, one of whom was someone she knew. The attack took place in the town of Creedmoor, about 15 miles northeast of Durham, and was a “set up,” according to the accuser’s mother.
This outing by Essence, a magazine targeted at an african american audience, has pissed off quite a few people who were supporting the accuser including song4assata at Justice 4 Two Sisters. Despite the irony of this being how the information came out, it would seem that reporters, regardless of whether they were white, black, or polka-dotted had an obligation to print the information. It's definitely exculpatory as more and more of the case seems to hinge on the accuser's IDs.
I'll bet Nifong is popping antacids right now like tictacs.