Posted April 17, 2006 – More than a month after a female student at North Carolina Central University told police she was gang-raped by three White men at a party thrown by Duke University's lacrosse team, a Durham, N.C., prosecutor says he may seek official charges against two players as early as today.
District Attorney Mike Nifong has rejected calls from defense attorneys to drop the case and refused talk with reporters about the investigation, The Associated Press reported. But many questions could soon be answered if Nifong is able to bring the case to trial.
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While DNA test results failed to connect 46 White team members who were tested to the alleged victim, Nifong has repeatedly cited a medical exam of the alleged victim as the reason why he believes a rape occurred.
As defense attorneys representing the defendants insist that not only was there no rape, there was no sex. Nifong, however, argues that 75 percent to 80 percent of rape prosecutions occur without DNA evidence.
"The fact is that anytime you have a victim who can identify her assailant, then you have a case that a judge must let go to a jury," Nifong said.
There could be several reasons why the tests didn't find any DNA evidence, said Peter Neufeld, co-founder and co-director of the Innocence Project, a nonprofit legal clinic. Neufeld, along with attorney Barry Scheck, served as DNA experts with the O.J. Simpson defense team.
"Obviously, if people sexually assaulted her and wore condoms, you would not expect to see any semen left behind," he said.
But Defense attorney Butch Williams says the findings have been exactly what the players have said from day one – nothing happened.
But in a phone interview with AP, the Rev. Jesse Jackson said he believed there was enough circumstantial evidence indicating something happened to the woman.
"There's more evidence that violence occurred to her than that she's the lead of a hoax," Jackson said.
Jackson said Saturday that his Rainbow/PUSH Coalition would pay the college tuition of the 27-year-old alleged NCCU student.
The woman should be able to support her two children and pay her tuition without having "to sacrifice her body to make money," Jackson said.
The current tuition cost for undergraduate non-resident students is $4,892.00 per semester.
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