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Duke Update

Duke lacrosse players charged with rape

By Nikki DaSilva

Two Duke University lacrosse players were charged with first-degree forcible rape, first-degree sexual offense, and kidnapping on April 18, in a case that has inflamed racial and class tensions across the country.

The victim claims she was attacked by three white men at an off-campus house the night of March 13. The suspects, Collin Finnerty, from Long Island, New York, and Reade Seligmann, from New Jersey, both 20, were charged and subsequently released on $400,000 bail.

According to, authorities are continuing to gather evidence against a third suspect. District Attorney Mike Nifong said, "It had been my hope to be able to charge all three of the assailants at the same time, but the evidence available to me at this moment does not permit that."

The case has elevated racial tensions and heightened a long-existing antagonism between Duke students and the lower income, racially mixed surrounding community. The accuser is black, and all but one of the 47 lacrosse team members are white.

Since the scandal broke, Duke University has said it is investigating the behavior of the school's nationally ranked lacrosse team. Some members of the team have been found guilty of public intoxication and public urination. According to CNN, Collin Finnerty, one of the players indicted, was charged in Washington, D.C., with assault after a man told police in November that Finnerty and two friends punched him, used homophobic profanity and called him derogatory names. As a result of these charges, Finnerty agreed to do community service.

The case has resulted in the cancellation of the lacrosse season, the resignation of the team's coach, Mike Pressler, and public scrutiny of Duke athletics and its lacrosse program.