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coach quits, season canceled

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Duke Lacrosse Coach Quits; Season Canceled

Staff and agencies

06 April, 2006






By ALLEN G. BREED, AP National Writer

DURHAM, N.C. - A lacrosse player‘s e-mail vow to kill and skin strippers in his Duke University dorm room has started a chain reaction resulting in his coach‘s resignation, the season‘s cancellation and an internal probe into the university‘s response to alleged violence by athletes.


No charges have been filed in the case, but the player who wrote the e-mail has been suspended, and Duke President Richard H. Brodhead promised a "very, very serious self-study" of campus culture.


Students and townspeople have marched almost daily since the alleged attack on the stripper, a student across town at North Carolina Central University. The woman, who is black, claims three white players pulled her into a bathroom and assaulted her.


Authorities have taken DNA samples from the team‘s 46 white players. The sole black player has been ruled out. District Attorney Mike Nifong has said that he is "pretty confident that a rape occurred," but that he does not expect to file charges until next week.


On Wednesday, authorities unsealed documents stating that less than two hours after the alleged rape, a player sent an e-mail saying he was planning an encore to "tonights (sic) show." The message, addressed "To whom it may concern," said, "however there will be no nudity."


The player‘s name does not match the three names the woman gave to police as her attackers.


"We do not want anyone from the NCCU family to seek retribution or take matters into their own hands," Ammons said in a statement. "We have to exercise a great level of civility as we await the outcome of this investigation. I am encouraging our students to continue to show support for the alleged victim and to continue to plan events that better educate individuals about sexual violence and racism."


"The court released today a previously sealed warrant, whose contents are sickening and repulsive," Brodhead said in announcing the cancellation of the rest of the season. Last week, he suspended the team from play.


Brodhead would not say whether Pressler‘s resignation was requested, saying only, "When it was offered, I thought it was highly appropriate."


The aim, he said, is to uncover whether "is there a special history of bad behavior with this team."


The investigation of Duke‘s response will be conducted by William Bowen, president of the Andrew Mellon Foundation and a past president of Princeton University, and Julius Chambers, former director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and a past NCCU chancellor.


The university‘s critics have complained that it has taken three weeks to take these actions. There have been nearly daily protests on and off campus.


Coincidentally, the e-mail‘s author attended a "Take Back the Night" march on campus on March 29.


"I completely support this event and this entire week," the player told The Chronicle, Duke‘s student newspaper. "It‘s just sad that the allegations we are accused of happened to fall when they did."


The player‘s attorney, Glen Bachman, took over his representation late Wednesday from attorney Robert Ekstrand, who said earlier in the day that while its language was vile, "the e-mail itself is perfectly consistent with the boys‘ unequivocal assertion that no sexual assault took place that evening."


Bachman declined to comment on the e-mail and its contents.


In the warrant to search the player‘s room, police provided a detailed timeline of the alleged attack and some additional details of their investigation. The warrant also adds conspiracy to commit murder as one of the crimes police are investigating.




Emery P. Dalesio contributed to this report.




On the Net:


Duke University: http://www.duke.edu

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