Lacrosse Players Arrested in Duke Rape Case

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Two members of the Duke University lacrosse team were arrested Tuesday for the alleged rape of a woman who performed as a stripper at a team party last March. Madeleine Brand discusses the arrests and other developments surrounding the case with North Carolina Public Radio reporter Leoneda Inge.


From NPR West, this is DAY TO DAY. I'm Madeleine Brand.

First though, in Durham, North Carolina, two Duke University lacrosse players were arrested this morning. They were indicted yesterday on rape and kidnapping charges. The case has stirred up race and class issues in Durham. The woman who's allegedly attacked is black. The lacrosse players she has accused are white. She attends a public college in Durham. Duke is an expensive private university. This morning, one of the two suspects made a brief court appearance. The other avoided court by posting a $400,000 bond. Reporter Leoneda Inge from North Carolina Public Radio was at the courthouse in Durham today; and Leoneda, did the suspects or their lawyers say anything today?

Ms. LEONEDA INGE (Reporter, North Carolina Public Radio): Well, Madeleine, the attorney for one of the gentleman, attorney Kirk Osborne. He's sort of zoomed out of the courtroom as soon as the proceeding took place. And the only thing that he said is, you know, these are honorable kids; and they are absolutely innocent. And that's what the attorneys for the lacrosse players have been saying for weeks now.

BRAND: And they've been saying that because there has been no DNA evidence linking them to the crime?

Ms. INGE: That's what they say. Of course--of course not too long ago, actually a couple of days ago, the district attorney for Durham County, he made note that all of the DNA evidence still isn't in yet. And so there may just be some DNA evidence that may come out later. But as of today, the evidence that came from our state bureau of investigation in Raleigh shows no link.

BRAND: There have been near-daily protests there in Durham; what's been the reaction today to these arrests?

Ms. INGE: Well, also right after the proceedings in court, the NAACP held a news conference literally a block away. And in a way they're repeating what they've said from the beginning, as well. You know, they say the truth will, I guess, set us all free when we find out what happens. And to also let the justice system do what it has to do to make sure this is a fair and open process. But they also said they've assembled a group of attorneys. And the national NAACP is supposed to be assisting the state in, I guess, whatever needs to be done. Of course they're taking, I guess taking the side of the young lady who's alleged this rape. But they say they're still being very cautious. You know we haven't had like Al Sharpton down here yet, you know, making--starting protests, and making claims like some would've thought. Everybody's being pretty cautious. So the protests haven't been, I guess, as you would think, lively. They've been very, very calm and everybody wants calm in a city that's almost 50-50 black-white.

BRAND: And what's been the reaction there at Duke to these arrests, to the indictments?

Ms. INGE: Pretty calm as well. In the very beginning we had--there were a few protests. But, actually, today, I'm hearing there's some signs around campus that read, you know, we support our lacrosse team. And so, in a city that is as diverse as Durham, in a way we've expected that. I mean, this case has really, in a way, divided a city that--blacks on one side, whites on the other. But the city, the president of Duke and the mayor of the city, and also the chancellor of North Carolina Central University, where the alleged victim is a student, they've all always presented this as a situation where, you know, Durham is a place where everyone has a forum; they can speak out, but, again, they're also calling for calm in the city.

BRAND: Reporter Leoneda Inge with North Carolina Public Radio. Thank you.

Ms. INGE: Thank you.

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