April 18, 2006 -- When Brian Loftus heard his sons were not the two Duke lacrosse players indicted by a grand jury today, his first reaction was relief, the second despair.
"I got word that my two kids weren't two of the kids being indicted. It was like, you know, one of those bittersweet things, a relief," Loftus told ABC's Chris Cuomo in an exclusive interview. "But right now, I'm sick to my stomach. … I'm not an emotional person, but I was crying earlier today because those two kids' lives are ruined, I mean totally ruined. For the next six [months] to nine months, they're going to be scrutinized as criminals and I know these kids. It's the furthest thing from that."
Duke sophomores Collin Finnerty from New York and Reade Seligmann from New Jersey turned themselves in this morning. They are charged with first-degree forcible rape, first-degree sexual offense and kidnapping. Lawyers say they're charged with crimes they didn't commit, and Loftus, who lives in Syosset on New York's Long Island, said his sons had been telling him the same thing ever since a stripper told police she was raped at a party thrown by Duke's lacrosse team more than a month ago.
"Both my sons vehemently, all they ever told me was, 'Dad, nothing happened. Nobody did anything,'" Loftus said. Loftus added that the "Blue Wall of Silence" was a myth, and that all the players were willing to cooperate with authorities.
"These kids were willing to take polygraphs. These kids were willing to take blood tests. They were willing to come down and give statements," Loftus said. "They did everything. They gave their DNA. We thought once we give that, that it was going to be over. … But every night, every day, all we see on the TV is, we're hiding something. Obviously there's nothing to hide."
Loftus was one of the New York firefighters who responded to the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. He said he was also bothered by media reports calling the lacrosse team a bunch of rich, white kids whose only possession greater than wealth was cockiness.
"I'm not an emotional person, but every day I cry. I have tears in my eyes. I feel like the world's been pulled underneath my feet," Loftus said. "My kids, when you hear them sobbing on the phone that their lives are destroyed and you hear other people saying the same thing you wonder what went wrong. And we know nothing went wrong. I cannot stress that any more. Nothing happened that night."