Duke Suspends Team in Wake of Rape Allegations

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Duke University's highly ranked lacrosse team will not play again this season until school administrators learn more about allegations that several team members raped an exotic dancer at an off-campus party, the school said yesterday.

President Richard Brodhead decided to suspend the team from play "until there is a clearer resolution of the legal situation involving team members," the university said.

No one has been charged in the case, which has roiled the campus, raised racial tensions and heightened antagonism between the students at Duke, which costs about $43,000 a year, and the city of Durham, N.C., which has a large population of poor people and is about evenly divided between white and black.

Nine members of the team are from the Washington area.

A woman told police she and another dancer were hired to perform March 13 at a private party in an off-campus home. The dancer, a student at North Carolina Central University, a historically black school, told police she was pulled into a bathroom, beaten, choked and raped by three men.

No one has been charged.

Armed with a judge's order, police took DNA samples with a cheek swab from 46 of the lacrosse team's 47 players last week. The 47th player, the only black member of the team, did not have to provide DNA because the dancer said her attackers were white.

"I feel pretty confident that a rape occurred," District Attorney Mike Nifong said yesterday.

The team already had forfeited two games as punishment for underage drinking and the hiring of the dancers.

Brodhead said team captains notified Athletic Director Joe Alleva yesterday that players wanted to stay off the field until the DNA results came back from a crime lab. Brodhead said it was his decision to expand the suspension.

-- From News Services and Staff Reports

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