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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

2 Arrested in Duke rape case

Duke University lacrosse players Collin Finnerty,
left, and Reade Seligmann were charged
today with first degree forcible rape, first
degree sexual offense and kidnapping in
connection with a reported rape at a Duke
University lacrosse party, according to
George Naylor, director of the Durham County Jail.

Two arrests made in Duke lacrosse case

By Stanley B. Chambers Jr., Anne Blythe and Benjamin Niolet, Staff Writers
Duke University lacrosse players Reade Seligmann and Collin Finnerty were charged today with first degree forcible rape, first degree sexual offense and kidnapping in connection with a reported rape at a Duke lacrosse party, according to George Naylor, director of the Durham County Jail.
Bond was set for each player at $400,000, Naylor said.

Seligmann, a sophomore from Essex Fells, N.J., and Finnerty, a sophomore from Garden City, N.Y., emerged from a sheriff's deputy vehicle and were led, handcuffed, into the magistrate's office at 4:54 a.m. today.

Just after 7 a.m., Seligmann and another man left the jail and ran to a Ford Explorer with New Jersey license plates. They pulled onto Pettigrew Street and went to the traffic light at Pettigrew and Mangum streets. They stopped at a red light, waited for traffic to clear, and then turned left, running the red light.

Seligmann and Finnerty's arrests stem from a party that began March 13. The accuser, who is a mother of two, an N.C. Central University student and an escort service dancer, told police March 14 that she was sexually assaulted by three men in a bathroom at an off-campus house shared by three lacrosse team captains. The accuser is black; she said her rapists were white.

Kirk Osborn, Seligmann's attorney, said, "We're looking forward to showing that he is absolutely innocent as soon as we can."

Defense lawyers said players maintained that there was no sex at all. They said the accuser concocted the story, that she was drunk and injured late March 13 when she arrived at the three-bedroom house at 610 N. Buchanan Blvd.

"... Two young men have been charged with crimes they did not commit. This is a tragedy," Bob Ekstrand, who represents team players, said Monday in a prepared statement. "For the two young men, an ordeal lies ahead. They do not face it alone; they face it with the love of family and friends and strengthened by the truth. They are both innocent."

Superior Court Judge Ronald Stephens sealed a manila envelope containing the indictments shortly after the grand jury finished its business Monday. The judge cited a state law that requires everyone involved in a case, including witnesses, to keep the indictment secret until a suspect is arrested.

Last month, a judge ordered DNA tests on the team's 46 white players; he excluded the only black team member. The players' attorneys say the tests showed none of the players' genetic material on or in the woman.

Nifong, bolstered by a medical exam that found injuries on the woman consistent with sexual assault, says he is confident that she was assaulted in the university-owned house. Nifong said last week at a forum at NCCU that the accuser identified at least one of her attackers.

Until Sunday night, the only other witness, the second woman hired to dance at the party, had remained silent. In television interviews, she told her story.

The woman's attorney, Mark Simeon of Durham, declined Monday to make her available for an interview. She spoke on the MSNBC cable news network, which did not identify her and showed her in silhouette. Simeon confirmed that it was his client on MSNBC.

The woman told MSNBC that she did not witness a rape and does not know whether one occurred.

The woman said she arrived thinking that she would be dancing at a bachelor party of 15 people. She was not expecting a party of lacrosse players, many of whom she said were in a drunken stupor. The woman said she was infuriated to learn that some players photographed her dancing.

The accuser did not appear to be on drugs or to have been drinking when she arrived, the second dancer said. She was "absolutely fine and in control of herself."

When the accuser left, less than an hour after she arrived, she was incoherent and stumbling, the second dancer said.

"She couldn't really walk on her own," the woman said. "She really couldn't get her thoughts together enough to answer any questions. ... She was a different person than I met at the beginning."

Mr Finnerty has a criminal history of violence

Finnerty charged with assault in D.C.
By Jim Nesbitt, Staff Writer

Collin Finnerty, one of two Duke University lacrosse players charged in the reported rape of a dancer at a March 13 party, has been arrested before.

Finnerty, a lanky sophomore attackman from Chaminade High School, an all-boys Catholic academy in Mineola, N.Y., was arrested last November on assault charges in Washington, D.C.

On March 23, the same day he was ordered to provide DNA samples in Durham for the gang rape investigation, Finnerty was in Washington to face a misdemeanor charge of simple assault.

According to court records, Finnerty and two former Chaminade teammates attacked a man who was driving by The Georgetown Inn on Wisconsin Avenue in the early hours of Nov. 5, "busting his lip and bruising his chin."

The man said that he told them to stop "calling him gay and ... derogatory names."

Finnerty, who entered a diversion program, was ordered to perform 25 hours of community service in Washington by fall, said his attorney, Stephen J. McCool. If he performs the service and avoids new arrests, the assault charges will be dropped, McCool said.

Finnerty is from Garden City, N.Y., a fairly affluent Long Island bedroom community about 26 miles east of New York City. His father, Kevin J. Finnerty, is a senior official with Bear Stearns, a securities trading, investment banking and brokerage firm with headquarters in New York.

The alleged victim's father was on Nancy Grace last night. He said when they DNA came back negative, she cried all night long, saying "they think I'm lying".

That was a remarkable bit of TV, even for Crazy Nancy.

My feeling is that once reporters start digging around Duke, the Lacrosse team is going to look bad. The defense keeps trying to say nothing happen, that every revelation will clear their clients. All that does is increase support for the alleged victim in the community.

And if there are other victims from other incidents, it will ruin the credibility of their clients. Things like this snowball, and people who had kept secrets then reveal them. There are reporters going over this story for feature pieces, poking into these guys lives and spinning them as innocent boys may backfire.

Oh, and the gay bashing doesn't help matters

posted by Steve @ 11:28:00 AM

11:28:00 AM

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