Duke Accuser Also Filed an Assault Complaint in 1996

Friday, April 28, 2006

The woman who says she was raped by three members of Duke's lacrosse team also told police 10 years ago she was raped by three men, filing a 1996 complaint claiming she had been assaulted three years earlier when she was 14.

Authorities in nearby Granville County, N.C., said yesterday that none of the men named in the decade-old report were ever charged with sexual assault there, but they didn't have details why.

Relatives told Essence magazine in an online story this week that the woman declined to pursue the case out of fear for her safety. A phone number for the accuser has been disconnected, and her father said last night he remembered little about the incident except going with police to a home where he said his daughter was being held "against her will."

Asked if she was sexually assaulted, he said, "I can't remember." In an interview with the News & Observer of Raleigh, posted last night on the paper's Web site, he said the men "didn't do anything to her."

The existence of the earlier rape report surprised defense attorneys, one of whom has sought information about the accuser's past for use in attacking her credibility.

"That's the very first I've heard of that," said Bill Cotter , the attorney for indicted lacrosse player Collin Finnerty , who along with fellow Duke sophomore Reade Seligmann is charged with first-degree rape, kidnapping and sexual assault. He declined additional comment.

-- From News Services

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