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Rape Report's Admissibility In Duke Case Is Disputed

Saturday, April 29, 2006

DURHAM, N.C. -- The district attorney prosecuting two Duke University lacrosse players on rape charges said Friday that a similar complaint brought by the accuser 10 years ago may not be admissible if the Duke case goes to trial -- a suggestion disputed by a defense lawyer.

"This woman will have to testify, and it's valid to ask her if she's made any false accusations," said Joe Cheshire, the attorney of a player who has not been charged.

According to an old police report uncovered Thursday, the stripper who said she was raped by three Duke athletes at an off-campus party also told police in nearby Creedmoor in 1996 that, three years earlier, she had been raped and beaten by three men when she was 14. None of the three was ever charged with sexual assault.

District Attorney Mike Nifong said a jury might never be allowed to hear about the previous allegations because North Carolina's rape shield law specifies "narrowly defined categories" under which an accuser's past sexual history is allowed as evidence.

* * *

· SAVANNAH, Ga. -- A body believed to be that of a missing Fort Benning soldier was discovered inside a piece of air-conditioning equipment at a downtown hotel after guests complained of a foul odor in the lobby. Spec. Robert Hornbeck, 23, was last seen outside the Hilton Savannah DeSoto April 16 after a night of bar-hopping with an Army buddy.

· HOUSTON -- About 12,000 families evacuated because of hurricanes must pay their own rent or move out after receiving word that they are being dropped from a FEMA housing program they thought would last a year. About 38,000 other families still qualify for assistance through FEMA, but they must complete new paperwork to remain eligible. Some hurricane Katrina and Rita evacuees received FEMA notices saying that their aid is guaranteed only through Sunday. But the agency said the deadline is May 31, and it recently granted Houston officials' request to extend it to June 30.

· FRESNO, Calif. -- A jury awarded $500,000 to a woman who was spanked in front of her colleagues in what her employer called a camaraderie-building exercise. The jury of six men and six women found that Janet Orlando, 53, was subjected to sexual harassment and sexual battery when she was paddled two years ago at Alarm One Inc., a home security company in Fresno. The jury said Orlando was not sexually assaulted.

· MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- Relatives of the Sago Mine victims demanded improvements to the emergency air packs that coal miners count on. In a letter to the victims' families, Randal McCloy Jr., the sole survivor of the January accident that killed 12 miners, said that at least four of their air packs did not work, forcing the men to share their oxygen.

· CHICAGO -- Dan Young Jr., 45, had been out of prison for nearly a year after having been exonerated in a murder through DNA testing when he was struck by a hit-and-run driver, police said. He died of the injuries.

· KENNEWICK, Wash. -- A pastor who struck and killed a bicyclist in 2003 was charged with manslaughter after a lawsuit uncovered evidence that he knew he could not see well enough to drive, prosecutors said. The Rev. Randall R. Foos, 57, of the Lord of Life Lutheran Church could be sentenced to more than two years in prison if convicted in the death of Sara Casey, 19.

-- From News Services

Rape Report's Admissibility In Duke Case Is Disputed

DURHAM, N.C. -- The district attorney prosecuting two Duke University lacrosse players on rape charges said Friday that a similar complaint brought by the accuser 10 years ago may not be admissible if the Duke case goes to trial -- a suggestion disputed by a defense lawyer.

"This woman will have to testify, and it's valid to ask her if she's made any false accusations," said Joe Cheshire, the attorney of a player who has not been charged.

According to an old police report uncovered Thursday, the stripper who said she was raped by three Duke athletes at an off-campus party also told police in nearby Creedmoor in 1996 that, three years earlier, she had been raped and beaten by three men when she was 14. None of the three was ever charged with sexual assault.

District Attorney Mike Nifong said a jury might never be allowed to hear about the previous allegations because North Carolina's rape shield law specifies "narrowly defined categories" under which an accuser's past sexual history is allowed as evidence.

* * *

· SAVANNAH, Ga. -- A body believed to be that of a missing Fort Benning soldier was discovered inside a piece of air-conditioning equipment at a downtown hotel after guests complained of a foul odor in the lobby. Spec. Robert Hornbeck, 23, was last seen outside the Hilton Savannah DeSoto April 16 after a night of bar-hopping with an Army buddy.

· HOUSTON -- About 12,000 families evacuated because of hurricanes must pay their own rent or move out after receiving word that they are being dropped from a FEMA housing program they thought would last a year. About 38,000 other families still qualify for assistance through FEMA, but they must complete new paperwork to remain eligible. Some hurricane Katrina and Rita evacuees received FEMA notices saying that their aid is guaranteed only through Sunday. But the agency said the deadline is May 31, and it recently granted Houston officials' request to extend it to June 30.

· FRESNO, Calif. -- A jury awarded $500,000 to a woman who was spanked in front of her colleagues in what her employer called a camaraderie-building exercise. The jury of six men and six women found that Janet Orlando, 53, was subjected to sexual harassment and sexual battery when she was paddled two years ago at Alarm One Inc., a home security company in Fresno. The jury said Orlando was not sexually assaulted.

· MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- Relatives of the Sago Mine victims demanded improvements to the emergency air packs that coal miners count on. In a letter to the victims' families, Randal McCloy Jr., the sole survivor of the January accident that killed 12 miners, said that at least four of their air packs did not work, forcing the men to share their oxygen.

· CHICAGO -- Dan Young Jr., 45, had been out of prison for nearly a year after having been exonerated in a murder through DNA testing when he was struck by a hit-and-run driver, police said. He died of the injuries.

· KENNEWICK, Wash. -- A pastor who struck and killed a bicyclist in 2003 was charged with manslaughter after a lawsuit uncovered evidence that he knew he could not see well enough to drive, prosecutors said. The Rev. Randall R. Foos, 57, of the Lord of Life Lutheran Church could be sentenced to more than two years in prison if convicted in the death of Sara Casey, 19.

-- From News Services

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