What has lead me to conclude that this is my problem? Why, the duke lacrosse case of course. I always assumed that Mike Nifong, the prosecutor in the case, truly believes that a crime occurred. That he was making a principled, if daft, stance. I figured that the evidence in the case was at least somewhat ambivalent and that his bulldogged pushing of the case could be chalked up to righteous stubbornness rather than anything more calculating or sinister. Man, was I wrong. The latest periscope article from newsweek sums up the recent developments in the case pretty well:
June 19, 2006 issue - Early in the Duke lacrosse rape investigation, Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong, who was in a close race to keep his job, spoke about the physical and emotional trauma the alleged victim had suffered at the hands of the players. A police affidavit stated that her medical records revealed the victim had "injuries consistent with being raped and sexually assaulted vaginally and anally." But according to a motion filed by defense attorneys last week, no such physical trauma was found during her exam at Duke hospital. Quoting from the report, which was submitted to the court under seal, the motion states that the nurse—who was in training—examined the woman's entire pelvic region and noted only diffuse swelling of the vaginal walls, a condition explainable by consensual sexual activity.
Police documents indicate that the accuser had in fact engaged in such activity in the days leading up to the incident. The accuser told police that she'd had sex with her boyfriend a week before. She added that she'd also performed using a vibrator in front of a couple. (Though the timing of this incident is not specific, the clear implication is that it had happened near the time of the lacrosse party.) And, according to defense attorneys, the boyfriend's seminal fluid was found in her, suggesting she'd also had sex with him within 72 hours. Jarriel Johnson, who identified himself as the woman's driver, told police in a statement that in addition to sleeping with the accuser himself a week prior to the party, he'd taken her to several appointments at hotels in the days before.
The documents are devastating to the accuser's credibility. They show that the night of the party, the accuser kept changing her story. After reporting that she'd been raped, she told Sgt. J. C. Shelton, according to his statement, that no one forced her to have sex. Then at the hospital, she said again that she'd been raped. She told one doctor she'd had no alcohol or drugs, according to the motion, but told the nurse that she'd had one drink and was currently taking the muscle relaxant Flexeril, which can cause drowsiness and dizziness if taken with alcohol. The next morning, at UNC hospital, she said she'd been drunk.
The police summary of the statement Kim Roberts, the second dancer, made is especially damning. Roberts said the idea that the woman was assaulted was a "crock." She went on to say that the accuser, who used the stage name Precious, was out of Roberts's sight for less than five minutes. Roberts later told NEWSWEEK she believed a rape could have happened. In the meantime, Nifong, who declined a request for comment, had approved a motion to eliminate Roberts's bond payments stemming from a prior conviction.
It seems that almost no statement that Nifong made to the press concerning the facts in this case have been proven out to be true. There were no bruises and marks of choking. There was no indication of forcible trauma from the rape kit. The accuser specifically said no condoms were used despite Nifong's trial balloon that they were. The accuser was taking muscle relaxants and consumed alcohol prior to the event, despite Nifong's claim she had a single drink at the party only, and from that one beverage became incapacitated.
Remarkable. Unbelievable in fact. Perhaps, if there is any justice in this world, even criminal.
I feel sort of dirty that I ever gave this guy the benefit of the doubt and even defended him to others who were painting him as a straight oppertunist. It's like when I actually believed Clinton's finger-wagging 'I did not have sexual relations with that woman' speech. The shame is almost more than I can bear.
Curse my trusting heart.