Duke Lacrosse Case: District Attorney Nifong Breaks His Silence on Prior Rape Allegations

ByABC News
April 28, 2006, 6:45 AM

April 28, 2006 — -- Reading a statement in an impromptu news conference, Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong broke his silence, speaking about the Duke lacrosse case for the first time in weeks.

His subject: a 1996 police report that had surfaced Thursday describing allegations of a 1993 gang rape, filed by the accuser in the Duke lacrosse rape investigation.

The police report, obtained by The Associated Press, was filed by the alleged victim when she was 18, and she cited an incident that had taken place when she was 14. The police report lists the alleged crime as "statutory rape." The three men she accused in the report were never arrested or charged.

Police in Creedmoor, N.C., say they have no records showing that the alleged victim pursued the case against the three men, all of whom she knew prior to the alleged attack.

When asked whether the police report would be admissible as evidence in the Duke case, Nifong said, "The jury that decides the case may or may not hear the information reported by The Associated Press."

Nifong also mentioned having received five letters from victims of sexual assault, two of which were from former Duke students who were sexually assaulted by other Duke students during their time at the university.

Nifong had previously vowed not to comment on the case outside of the courtroom, clearly unhappy with media coverage of the case.

Today, he cited how "the media can have a substantial impact" -- positive or negative. Nifong breaks his silence just two four days before he faces a tough primary election, in which the Duke lacrosse case has become a central issue.

Ted Pollard, Creedmoor's chief of police, said earlier today that aside from this report, he had no other documents or recollection of the case. The district attorney and assistant district attorney in office at the time of the 1993 incident don't either, he said.

Pollard said, "When [a rape case] comes to you four years later, you must have the alleged victim in order to pursue it. I have no idea why she did not."