Duke Lacrosse Rape Claim Spurs Outrage

ByABC News

March 26, 2006 — -- Following accusations that several Duke University lacrosse team members raped a dancer, a group of concerned Durham, N.C., residents staged a "wake-up call" today against sexual assault.

Standing in front of the house where the alleged assault occurred, the group beat and banged on pots and pans early this morning to protest the attack.

Last week, DNA samples were taken from 46 members of thelacrosse team. Investigators are trying to identify at least three men suspected of raping and beating the woman, who was hired to dance at a party.

"We're not saying that all 46 were involved," Durham Police Cpl. David Addison said recently. "But we do know that some of the players inside that house on that evening knew what transpired and we need them to come forward."

So far, no charges have been filed against any of the players. The team, which is currently ranked No. 2 and has been considered a favorite to win this year's national championship, forfeited two games -- one yesterday and one that would have been played on this coming Tuesday -- because of the allegations.

"If what is alleged is in fact true, it's totally deplorable," Duke spokesman John Burness told ABC station WTVD-TV in Duhram this past week. "That is not what this institution stands for nor do we believe it's what our students stand for."

According to a search warrant, the victim and another woman went to a university-owned house on March 13, where three members of the team live. When the men became aggressive, the women left but another player apologized and convinced them to return.

The women returned to the house, but were separated. The victim alleges she was forced into a bathroom and assaulted. The men also allegedly yelled racial slurs at the women.

The victim, who is black, later contacted police from a grocery store and reported the attack.

"That brutal assault, that brutal rape that occurred within that house, cannot be explained by anyone," Addison said.

Duke Provost Peter Lang seemed unwilling to speculate on the allegations.

"Do I know that those crimes happened in a way that would allow me to take a position on that? No," he said. "That's why we have the police. That's why the police have the means to undertake steps to investigate the crime that Duke could never have."

ABC News affiliate WTVD-TV in Durham, N.C., contributed to this report.

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