The Aftermath of the Duke Lacrosse Rape Case

NotRapists

In case you’ve wondered about higher education stories dating from seven years ago, that scandal pertaining to sexual abuse allegations against members of Duke University’s lacrosse is now (almost) over.

In March of 2006 Crystal Mangum, an exotic dancer, performed at a party hosted at the off-campus residence of the captains of the Duke lacrosse team. Mangum, a black single mother, later accused a three members of the team of rape.

District Attorney Mike Nifong, who was running for reelection, pursued the case very enthusiastically, despite the fact that the evidence in this incident was, well, limited. A DNA test of 46 members of the school’s lacrosse team failed to indicate any sexual contact with Mangum. Several players were arrested anyway, none were found guilty.

Nifong was subsequently disbarred “after being found guilty of a battery of ethics violations for his handling of the Duke” case.

Now, according to an article in the News & Observer, on Wednesday this week,

Duke University has settled out of court a lawsuit filed by 38 former lacrosse players stemming from the 2006 lacrosse scandal. A “stipulation of dismissal” was filed in federal court Wednesday, said the players’ attorney, Bill Thomas.

The suit was filed in early 2008, with the plaintiffs presenting more than 20 claims against Duke, among them intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence and violation of civil rights.

A second, separate suit, filed by three members in the lacrosse scandal, remains pending.

The incident brought extensive negative press to Duke and the lacrosse team, particularly with regard to race, class, and gender relations in the Durham, North Carolina region. As one columnist wrote in the midst of the event:

We know for certain that one of these defendants, who lawyered his way around a gay-bashing incident in Washington, is an individual of questionable character and self-control. We know the team as a whole has a dismal history of disreputable undergraduate behavior, in which it was indulging when the alleged atrocity occurred.

Well yes, but that still didn’t mean he was a rapist. [Image via]

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer