Posted Oct. 1, 2007 – Duke’s president says he’s sorry for the whole rape mess. The president of Duke University said Saturday that he is sorry for not standing up for members of the lacrosse team who had been accused of rape by an exotic dancer last March.
"Given the complexities of this case, getting the communication right would never have been easy," Richard Brodhead said. "But the fact is that we did not get it right, causing the families to feel abandoned when they were most in need of support. This was a mistake. I take responsibility for it and I apologize for it."
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Among the mistakes, Brodhead acknowledged, was the university’s "failure to reach out" in a "time of extraordinary peril.” In the highly publicized, racially volatile case – which involved an African-American woman charging three White men with raping her – the university, and nation as a whole, seemed to split along racial and sexual lines.
Brodhead, under intense pressure to resolve the matter as shock waves rocked his campus, initially suspended the highly ranked team from play and later canceled the rest of the season and fired longtime coach Mike Pressler.
Durham County prosecutor Mike Nifong labeled the team "hooligans" and eventually won indictments against players Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty and Dave Evans. In April state prosecutors deemed the accuser’s story a lie and the lacrosse players were exonerated. As a result of his conduct in prosecuting the three, Nifong was disbarred.
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