More than three dozen current and former lacrosse players at Duke have sued the University for its actions during the infamous rape case. They have grounds for the lawsuit after the University discarded every principle of legal process and fairness to join the mob against its own students.
Thus far, Mike Nifong has borne the heaviest penalties for this case. Click here for a prior column and mugshot. Notably, the accuser and main witness who made the false allegations has had no action taken against them.
Many of us were appalled by the actions of Duke against these players. Eager to appease the outraged public, the university suspended the players and all but declared their guilt. It was not just an abdication of their responsibility to their own students, but a betrayal of a long-standing academic tradition to protect the community from prejudice and threats. For a column on the symbol of this academic tradition, click here.
Obviously, a university can suspend students or faculty who are arrested with clear and compelling evidence of criminal conduct, particularly when there is a threat to the community. However, in this case it was always the word of the accusers against these players and there was ample reason to doubt the account.
A copy of the complaint will be available at this site.
For the latest on the story, click here
6 thoughts on “Duke Lacrosse Players Sue Duke University Over Rape Case”
VC, I agree with your post, although I will say that the book UNTIL PROVEN INNOCENT was first rate NON fiction writing that, to me, read like a first rate fiction thriller. 🙂
I don’t share Professor’s Turley’s optimism that universities will learn from Duke’s mistakes. Here in Virginia at America’s second oldest university, the Board of Visitors (BOV) recently failed to renew the contract for a somewhat controversial (by Virginia standards) president for having the audacity to permit a racy art show by some former “sex workers” and for removing a Christian cross from a chapel when members of other faiths used the room. The BOV was then kind enough to launch a spirited and public attack on his managerial style as a pretext for removal. I should point out that the BOV acted after a dressing down by some rather ham-fisted Republican members of our General Assembly. Courage among university leadership is in short supply when confronted by the conservative forces surrounding them.
Sorry – didn’t mean to post with my nom de plume.
Even with the charges dropped, Nifong defrocked and the situation seemingly returned to normal – the course of history for the team has been permanently changed. The list of lost academic opportunities, professional opportunities and the fall-out endured by the players and their families is difficult to compute.
What’s really sad, is that a third rate fiction writer (and I know third rate writing) wouldn’t have conceived that such a nefarious prosecutor would been a believable character – or that a University could have permitted such gross abuse to privacy of students. Not exactly good for business. Particularly when your are in the business of training minds to use the tools of reason.
Frankly, a verdict against Duke would serve as a useful object lesson for other universities. Even if they are not motivated by the fundamental principles of our profession, they should be least be motivated by self-interest in future cases.
J.T., thanks so much for this update. And good for these players, I believe they have every right to sue Duke University, and I hope they will win. One of the best books I read on the subject was UNTIL PROVEN INNOCENT, by K.C. Johnson and Stuart Taylor, and I applauded the tremendous efforts of the players’ dedicated attorneys.
If the players hadn’t had the good fortune to have these attorneys working hard and tirelessly on their behalf, there would no doubt have been not just one but THREE wrongful convictions added to the statistics list. I for one am very thankful that tragedy was narrowly avoided. But just barely. Many people, as much of the public knows, have not been so lucky. I just wish everyone so accused could have the same access to strong and effective criminal defense that these players did. Maybe one day, they can. In my view, it is a goal worthy of striving for and achieving.
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