Thursday, April 12, 2007

The Duke University case (paca)

As many of you are likely already aware, the rape charges against three Duke University lacrosse players were dropped today after the case against them fell apart. Here's the AP run down. The three were accused of gang-raping a stripper at a party of some sort. It certainly seems that there is no case anymore against the three as there were no DNA matches and many inconsistent stories, supposedly from the victim herself as well. However, read this sentence about there being no DNA matches:

"He [the prosecutor] was also accused of withholding the results of lab tests that found DNA from several men — none of them lacrosse team members — on the accuser's underwear and body."

So, I get that the accused lacrosse players are innocent from this. But, is the case of sexual assault over, because the woman is covered in the "DNA" of several men? Now, I admit I've never been to a strip club or even to a party in which a stripper was hired. As a senior in high school, my friends and I were going to hire a singing telegram French Maid for our friend's eighteenth, but we got a singing Kermit the Frog instead. So, therefore, I have no idea what happens when a stripper comes to a party to dance, but I always assumed that it was largely stripping, i.e., a woman taking her clothes off and dancing, maybe rubbing against the guys, provocatively. Lap dance sort of stuff. How then does she get covered in DNA by a whole bunch of men? Is that the typical behavior? I am well aware that prostitution often happens under the table with escorts and stripping, but this seems different than that.

It sure sounds like - at best - the party went in a direction that the woman had not anticipated and made her feel out of control of the situation and assaulted. The accuser has said now she's not certain there was penetration, but even if correct, it sure sounds like there was still sexual assault, albeit by some other unknown men.

The next question then is in a world where the NFL suspends player 'Pacman' Jones for getting in bar fights over and over (and I think appropriately), are there any expectations of what sorts of parties college players attend as they represent their school?


December Quinn said...

Just plain dropping the charges is nowhere near enough vindication for those poor players, IMO. This case has been a travesty from start to finish.

Anonymous said...

"are there any expectations of what sorts of parties college players attend as they represent their school?"

i find this remark biased and generalized influnce of the media. No, thaier are not expectations, ever hear the quote, "there's no news like bad news.? bad news sells the media therefore bad news is what people hear most. college is partily about doing all the things ur highly restricted from doing at a younger age. i don't mean sneaking out and drinking, i mean goverment no no's like strip clubs and so forth. sport player does not equal "wild" parties. more paties with "dancing girls" happen minus the jocks. sorry to burst ur bubble. take it from an ex stripper and party girl. most jocks are to concearnd on keeping their bodies clean for performance.

pacatrue said...

Hi December, I agree with you that no justice was found in this case. It certainly appears that three innocent men were strung up by an overzealous prosecutor. I don't know what further options there are other than dropping the case. When someone is put in prison and then later exonerated, the state sometimes pays them for hardship. Is any similar thing possible or appropriate when innocent people are charged and harassed endlessly, but then exonerated? I don't know. We have two to three lawyers who read this blog, so maybe they will say. My other point is that the story should not end with the exoneration of the players. Something, very possibly illegal, did go on at this party, but it also appears that whatever did happen to the woman -- that sounds like sexual abuse from the description -- will also never be prosecuted successfully.

Anonymous, I think you are lumping me in with larger issues you have with the media and unfair perceptions of athletes. I never accused sports players of being more prone to wild parties than others. My point was that there are standards for professional athletes. It hurts the perception of the team, be it in the NFL, NBA, MLS, etc., when its players are visiting the police every other day, and this can ultimately hurt their business. Part of the business of sports is having people look to their team as heros and people to cheer for. The same thing is true of college athletics. People go to cheer for the Blue Devils because they love the team, it represents their community somehow, and they want to support their guys. And so, the professional leagues often punish athletes who are destroying the rep of the league with their off-field behavior. My question was: are there similar such standards for college players, or does the 21 year old junior have lower standards of behavior from Duke (or Harvard or NC State or the NCAA) than the 34 year old professional athlete in the NFL?

And again my major point, and let's be blunt this time, is that a woman went to do a job that she was hired for, i.e., to strip, and she somehow ended up being masturbated over by multiple men in a row or simultaneously. As a former stripper, you can tell us whether this is routine behavior or not.

Nicole Kelly said...

To my knowledge, compensation is rarely provided to the wrongly accused. The only time I can think of is in libel cases. A judge can decide that it was a frivolous case and force the accuser to pay the attorney fees of the defendant(s). It was meant as a way of preventing large chain papers (and jilted celebrities) from putting smaller papers out of business by dragging them through an expensive trial that was never going to return a guilty verdict. That being said, I am not a expert on the greater matter of compensation.

As for what happened to the accused, well, I sometimes feel that very little justice is handed down from our justice system.

Sammy Jankis said...

I'm relatively certain that standards on these things at the college level are handled by athletic department policy. The school's athletic department, or the coach of the invidual athletes, can mandate certain restrictions on behavior and exact punishments as they see fit (suspension from games, seasons, revocation of scholarship, etc.). If a team's behavior is particularly egregious, the NCAA can come in and place sanctions on the university (probation, elimination of maximum scholarship awards, etc.). Largely, though, I think this particular sort of behavior is handled solely by the coach.