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Rape charges dropped in Duke lacrosse case


__Kratos__

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DURHAM, N.C. - Prosecutors dropped rape charges Friday against three Duke University lacrosse players accused of attacking a stripper at a team party, but the three still face kidnapping and sexual offense charges.

According to court papers filed Friday by District Attorney Mike Nifong, the accuser told a prosecution investigator on Thursday that she now does not know if she was penetrated during the alleged attack.

Nifong had previously said he would rely on the woman’s account because of a lack of DNA evidence against the players.

Lacking any “scientific or other evidence independent of the victim’s testimony” to corroborate that aspect of the case, Nifong wrote, “the State is unable to meet its burden of proof with respect to this offense.”

Nifong did not immediately return calls seeking comment Friday, and a sign posted on his office door read, “No media, please!”

The accuser, a 28-year-old student at North Carolina Central University, has said three men raped her in a bathroom at a March 13 Duke lacrosse team party where she was hired to perform as a stripper.

The indicted players — Dave Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann — all say they are innocent, and their attorneys have consistently said no sex occurred at the party.

The defense attorneys have repeatedly cited a lack of DNA evidence in the case as proof of their clients’ innocence, while Nifong had said he didn’t need DNA evidence to win convictions.

“It’s highly coincidental,” said defense attorney Joseph Cheshire, that the charges are being dropped a week after the director of a private DNA testing lab acknowledged that he initially, with Nifong’s knowledge, withheld from the defense test results showing none of the players’ DNA was found on or in the accuser’s body.

Testing also showed that genetic material from several males was found on her undergarments and body.

“The reality is, what else could the DA do?” said Stan Goldman, who teaches criminal law, evidence and criminal procedure at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. “Once the DNA evidence came out last week, I can’t imagine how they could sustain a rape charge.”

That the accuser had again changed her story hurts Nifong’s case on the other charges, as well, Goldman said.

“It strikes me that a case based on this particular complaining witnesses’ credibility appears to be in jeopardy,” he said.

Defense attorneys have said for months that the woman has told several different versions of the alleged assault, and Seligmann’s attorney has said she has given investigators at least a dozen different versions of the alleged attack.

The defense also has argued that the woman misidentified her alleged attackers in a photo lineup and they have asked the judge to prevent the accuser from identifying the players from the witness stand.

Source

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So very convenient she doesn't know now after the DNA comes back, so she changes her story. :rolleyes: I guess as long as she keeps getting money and gifts from people that actually belief this bs, she's going to keep it up. Even the DA couldn't keep the stories straight and he made mistakes talking to the media openly about them clearly showing he didn't even know what really happened or didn't happen that night.

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N.C. Bar Files Charges Against Duke D.A.

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Dec 28, 10:50 PM (ET)

By AARON BEARD

(AP) Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong takes part in a candidates forum in Durham, N.C., in...

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - The North Carolina bar filed ethics charges Thursday against the prosecutor in the Duke lacrosse sexual assault case, accusing him of saying misleading and inflammatory things to the media about the athletes under suspicion.

The punishment for ethics violations can range from admonishment to disbarment. The complaint could also force District Attorney Mike Nifong off the case by creating a conflict of interest.

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Update: Charge could kick Duke prosecutor off case

RALEIGH, North Carolina (AP) -- Ethics charges filed against the prosecutor at the center of the Duke lacrosse sexual assault case might constitute a conflict of interest that forces him off the case, legal experts said.

"It's hard for me to imagine how he can be effective as an advocate, with either the court or a future jury, when he has ethics charges pending against him ... concerning his conduct of this very same case," said Joseph Kennedy, a University of North Carolina law professor.

The North Carolina bar filed the ethics charges Thursday, accusing District Attorney Mike Nifong of violating four rules of professional conduct by making misleading and inflammatory comments about the athletes under suspicion. (Read the full complaint (pdf))

Kennedy said Nifong should recuse himself, but added that the judge overseeing the case could order his removal from the case. The ethics charges carry penalties that range from admonishment to removal from the bar.

The bar said it opened a case against Nifong on March 30, a little more than two weeks after a 28-year-old woman hired to perform as a stripper at a lacrosse team party said she was gang-raped.

The ethics charges will be heard by the state's Disciplinary Hearing Commission, made up of lawyers and non-lawyers, at a forum similar to a trial. A date for the hearing has not been set.

"I'm not really into the irony of talking to reporters about allegations that I talked to reporters," Nifong said outside of his office Friday. He declined to answer any other questions.

In an October interview with The Associated Press, Nifong had said his only regret in handling the case was speaking so often to the media early in the investigation.

The bar cited 41 quotations and eight paraphrased statements made to newspaper and TV reporters, saying many of them amounted to "improper commentary about the character, credibility and reputation of the accused."

Among them:

-- Referring to the lacrosse players as "a bunch of hooligans."

-- "I am convinced there was a rape, yes, sir."

-- "One would wonder why one needs an attorney if one was not charged and had not done anything wrong."

Nifong also is charged with breaking a rule against "dishonesty, fraud, deceit and misrepresentation." The bar said that when DNA testing failed to find any evidence a lacrosse player raped the accuser, Nifong told a reporter the players might have used condoms.

According to the bar, Nifong knew that assertion was misleading, because he had received a report from an emergency room nurse in which the accuser said her attackers did not use condoms.

Last week, Nifong dropped the rape charges against the athletes after the stripper wavered in her story, saying she was no longer certain she was penetrated vaginally with a penis, as she had claimed several times before. The men still face charges of kidnapping and sexual offense.

Stan Goldman, who teaches criminal law at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, questioned how the ethics charges will affect the case should Nifong continue as its prosecutor.

"Is this going to result in him treating the case more gingerly and deciding it's not worth pursuing, or is he going to get his back up and decide he's got to pursue this case to the end regardless?" Goldman asked.

The athletes, Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty and David Evans, have maintained their innocence and called the charges "fantastic lies." The case is not expected to go to trial before the spring.

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The charges should be dropped, if they won't be the defense is going to destroy her on the stand because of the timeline, her fellow strippers debunking her and her ever changing story.

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More than that, the DA should be recalled if not disbarred!

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Rape or suspected rape is a very serious issue especially if you happen to have a vagina. This case however sounds like a big ol pile of dog crap. I don't know who's the bigger putz the accuser or the DA.

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The Duke lacrosse team has a history of legal trouble. Their behaviour was so bad a commision was formed to investigate the team.

This is a excerpt from the commision's report:

Although parents and Coach Pressler endorse lacrosse's social cohesion as good for individual members and for team performance, it does involve negative aspects. Bad alcohol-related behavior seems to be reinforced rather than mitigated by the group. Responsible senior leadership on the part of team captains seems to have been too often missing. Despite repeated and stern warnings from their coach and his imposition of significant punishments for unacceptable behavior, this behavior continued. The players and their families have expressed deep respect and admiration for Coach Pressler; why then, the Committee wondered, did the players persist in defying him and in failing to live up to his expectation of their conduct? The negative aspects of lacrosse cohesion is a serious problem that requires resolution. It was not, however, a problem that was ever adequately or fully brought to the attention of either Coach Pressler or the players' parents.

Paradoxically, in contrast to their exemplary academic and athletic performance, a large number of the members of the team have been socially irresponsible when under the influence of alcohol. They have repeatedly violated the law against underage drinking. They have drunk alcohol excessively. They have disturbed their neighbors with loud music and noise, both on-campus and off-campus. They have publicly urinated both on-campus and off. They have shown disrespect for property. Both the number of team members implicated in this behavior and the number of alcohol-related incidents involving them have been excessive compared to other Duke athletic teams.

http://www.dukenews.duke.edu/mmedia/featur...ossereport.html

The commission found that Duke lacrosse players from 2000-2006 had been charged with

Underage Possession of alcohol

Public urination (on-campus)

Theft of pizza

Unlawful possession of fireworks

Underage Possession of alcohol

Playing drinking game

On-campus property damage

Smoking marijuana in room

Noise policy

Attempted theft of banner

Alcohol Use

Attempted theft of banner

On-campus property damage

Sending emails

Alcohol in dorm room

Underage possession of alcohol

Noise policy

Fire safety in dorm

Failure to appear for proceeding

Public urination

Underage possession of alcohol

Alcohol in dorm room

Noise policy

Providing false identification

Drinking game in dorm room

Alcohol in dorm room

Drinking Game in dorm room

Noise policy

Suspicion of throwing water

Accomplice to underage possession

Fraudulent use of Duke student card

Failure to comply with judicial order

Possession of alcohol in dorm room

Noise policy (on-campus)

Noise ordinance (off-campus)

Intoxication

Open container of alcohol in car

Underage possession of alcohol

Public urination

Unlawful entry into another student's room

Destruction of property (on campus)

Suspicion of damaging property

Noise ordinance (off-campus)

Drinking party in dorm room

It's clear from their history that the Duke lacrosse team thinks they are above the rules. In this atmosphere it is entirely concievable that the Duke lacrosse players raped the dancer at their party.

Edited by supercar
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Update: Duke University says accused athletes can return

MIAMI (Reuters) - Duke University has invited back two former students suspended after they were charged with raping a black stripper at a lacrosse team party, the school president said on Wednesday.

Prosecutors dropped rape charges last month against the two students and a teammate, all of them white, after their accuser told investigators she was uncertain about crucial details. The athletes still face charges of kidnapping and sexual assault and have repeatedly said the allegations are false.

On Wednesday, Duke President Richard Brodhead issued a statement saying "the right and fair thing to do" is to allow the two, Reade Seligmann and Collin Finnerty, to return to the North Carolina school for the upcoming spring semester.

The third athlete, David Evans, graduated in May.

"Although the students still face serious charges and larger issues require Duke's collective attention, the circumstances in this case have changed substantially, and it is appropriate that the students have an opportunity to continue their education," Brodhead said.

There was no immediate word whether Seligmann and Finnerty would accept the offer.

Finnerty's attorney, Wade Smith, said in a televised news conference that "This announcement speaks to Duke's integrity as an institution, to its mission and to its belief in Collin Finnerty's innocence."

The stripper accused the three athletes of raping her at lacrosse team party in March 2006 at an off-campus house in Durham, North Carolina.

The case drew national attention, local protests and was portrayed as a symbol of racial and class division in the U.S. South. The university's lacrosse coach resigned and the school canceled the rest of the team's season.

Laboratory tests found none of the defendants' DNA on the accuser. The rape charge was dropped in December because she told investigators she was uncertain whether there had been vaginal penetration with a penis -- the definition of rape in North Carolina.

The North Carolina State Bar then filed an ethics complaint against District Attorney Michael Nifong, alleging he had violated ethics rules by making misleading, improper and prejudicial public statements about the evidence and the defendants.

Brodhead said then that Nifong's decision to drop the rape charge cast doubt on the remaining charges, and urged him to step aside and let an independent party handle the case.

---------------------------------------------------------------

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On Wednesday, Duke President Richard Brodhead issued a statement saying "the right and fair thing to do" is to allow the two, Reade Seligmann and Collin Finnerty, to return to the North Carolina school for the upcoming spring semester.

It's disgraceful that Duke's president caved in to the pressure being put on him by a few rich and powerful families.

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It's disgraceful that Duke's president caved in to the pressure being put on him by a few rich and powerful families.

Or perhaps he knows about the timeline, the DA's stunts, the lady's changing stories and the fact that no DNA was found?

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Anyone who has been to college knows that pretty much all of those things listed by supercar is pretty much an everyday thing on campus. The only thing that was serious is the entry of another persons room, and you don't know the story behind it. They did nothing that would even remotely show them to be capable of rape.

That aside, what about this case do you not see as completely made up supercar?

From day one everyone with a level head knew she made the story story up. The only reason the DA pushed the case forward was to gain votes in his upcoming election from black people.

She should be thrown in jail for whatever the maximum sentence for rape is. To think that she made a story up and went along with it knowing 3 guys could be thrown in jail for a very long time is despicable. Take away the money she has received from black activist groups and charge her with something. She already ruined those boys lives.

But hey, they are rich whiteys, of course they are lying and raped her, look at their daddies bank accounts...

Edited by KingTomis
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Anyone who has been to college knows that pretty much all of those things listed by supercar is pretty much an everyday thing on campus

I never saw or did anything like that when I was in college.

That aside, what about this case do you not see as completely made up supercar

There is nothing in this case that is 'made up'.

There was a police investigation. Are you saying the police AND the district attorney 'made up' stuff? Nope.

And the kidnapping and sexual assault charges still stand.

Right now,those lacrosse players and their families would say or do anything to get out of trouble. Including intimidating the district attorney and college president.

You going to look at that list of incidents and say 'oh it's typical college pranks'?

Let's take another look at the list of reported incidents(no telling how many unreported incidents there are):

Underage Possession of alcohol

Public urination (on-campus)

Theft of pizza

Unlawful possession of fireworks

Underage Possession of alcohol

Playing drinking game

On-campus property damage

Smoking marijuana in room

Noise policy

Attempted theft of banner

Alcohol Use

Attempted theft of banner

On-campus property damage

Sending emails

Alcohol in dorm room

Underage possession of alcohol

Noise policy

Fire safety in dorm

Failure to appear for proceeding

Public urination

Underage possession of alcohol

Alcohol in dorm room

Noise policy

Providing false identification

Drinking game in dorm room

Alcohol in dorm room

Drinking Game in dorm room

Noise policy

Suspicion of throwing water

Accomplice to underage possession

Fraudulent use of Duke student card

Failure to comply with judicial order

Possession of alcohol in dorm room

Noise policy (on-campus)

Noise ordinance (off-campus)

Intoxication

Open container of alcohol in car

Underage possession of alcohol

Public urination

Unlawful entry into another student's room

Destruction of property (on campus)

Suspicion of damaging property

Noise ordinance (off-campus)

Drinking party in dorm room

Those aren't the actions of 'basically good kids'. Those are the actions of a bunch of out-of-control animals.

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To me,anytime someone blames the district attorney of wrongdoing,that is an admission of guilt. They try to impune the credibilty of the DA because they have no real defense.

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To me,anytime someone blames the district attorney of wrongdoing,that is an admission of guilt. They try to impune the credibilty of the DA because they have no real defense.

So what is the N.C. Bar guilty of? Wanting the law practiced lawfully?

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Innocent until proved guilty.

The guys can be caveman or idiots, but until now, the proves to accuse them of rape are at best, cirncunstancial, and the action of the police, distric Attorny and the victim cast a serious shadow of doubt in the whole case.

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no DNA no case... according to law and order SVU... but anyway that list that was posted isnt actually that bad...

just the forced entry into the room but other than that is just drinking, act like non of you ever drank underage before...

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The Duke lacrosse team has a history of legal trouble. Their behaviour was so bad a commision was formed to investigate the team.

This is a excerpt from the commision's report:

Although parents and Coach Pressler endorse lacrosse's social cohesion as good for individual members and for team performance, it does involve negative aspects. Bad alcohol-related behavior seems to be reinforced rather than mitigated by the group. Responsible senior leadership on the part of team captains seems to have been too often missing. Despite repeated and stern warnings from their coach and his imposition of significant punishments for unacceptable behavior, this behavior continued. The players and their families have expressed deep respect and admiration for Coach Pressler; why then, the Committee wondered, did the players persist in defying him and in failing to live up to his expectation of their conduct? The negative aspects of lacrosse cohesion is a serious problem that requires resolution. It was not, however, a problem that was ever adequately or fully brought to the attention of either Coach Pressler or the players' parents.

Paradoxically, in contrast to their exemplary academic and athletic performance, a large number of the members of the team have been socially irresponsible when under the influence of alcohol. They have repeatedly violated the law against underage drinking. They have drunk alcohol excessively. They have disturbed their neighbors with loud music and noise, both on-campus and off-campus. They have publicly urinated both on-campus and off. They have shown disrespect for property. Both the number of team members implicated in this behavior and the number of alcohol-related incidents involving them have been excessive compared to other Duke athletic teams.

http://www.dukenews.duke.edu/mmedia/featur...ossereport.html

The commission found that Duke lacrosse players from 2000-2006 had been charged with

Underage Possession of alcohol

Public urination (on-campus)

Theft of pizza

Unlawful possession of fireworks

Underage Possession of alcohol

Playing drinking game

On-campus property damage

Smoking marijuana in room

Noise policy

Attempted theft of banner

Alcohol Use

Attempted theft of banner

On-campus property damage

Sending emails

Alcohol in dorm room

Underage possession of alcohol

Noise policy

Fire safety in dorm

Failure to appear for proceeding

Public urination

Underage possession of alcohol

Alcohol in dorm room

Noise policy

Providing false identification

Drinking game in dorm room

Alcohol in dorm room

Drinking Game in dorm room

Noise policy

Suspicion of throwing water

Accomplice to underage possession

Fraudulent use of Duke student card

Failure to comply with judicial order

Possession of alcohol in dorm room

Noise policy (on-campus)

Noise ordinance (off-campus)

Intoxication

Open container of alcohol in car

Underage possession of alcohol

Public urination

Unlawful entry into another student's room

Destruction of property (on campus)

Suspicion of damaging property

Noise ordinance (off-campus)

Drinking party in dorm room

It's clear from their history that the Duke lacrosse team thinks they are above the rules. In this atmosphere it is entirely concievable that the Duke lacrosse players raped the dancer at their party.

Sounds like every college to me. i would be the same. i miss the college years. So these crimes don't justify rapist. even though they probably did do it.

It's okay, even with the rape charges dropped, they still have to deal with kidnapping charges which is still serious.

If throwing water was a crimes as listed above, I should throw water back at a priest during church.

Edited by NME_locus
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If throwing water was a crimes as listed above, I should throw water back at a priest during church.

Throwing water doesn't sound all that bad but it depends on the circumstances. If you throw water at someone to intimidate and harass them,then it is pretty bad.

A few years ago several women were doused with water and attacked at a Puerto Rican Day parade in New York City:

'Stephanie was soaked with water, but unharmed.

"I was scared. I felt like I had no control, everything happened so fast but yet it felt like slow motion," she said. "I didn't know what would end up happening; that was the scariest part of all'

The attackers also groped and stripped several women.

http://archives.cnn.com/2000/US/06/14/cent...ark.assault.01/

Edited by supercar
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Supercar, you're grouping a entire group of people together on your baseless finger pointing and then saying they're guilty on your baseless ideas.

Update: Duke lacrosse players see justice in school's invitation

RALEIGH, North Carolina (AP) -- For Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann, being invited to return to Duke University represents vindication.

The university barred the two lacrosse players from class last semester while they faced charges of raping a stripper at a team party.

But now, as the case against them takes hit after hit, Duke officials said Wednesday that they have invited them to return for spring semester starting next week. (Watch why Duke is reinstating Finnerty and Seligmann )

"We feel that this is a very important moment," said Finnerty's lawyer, Wade Smith. "This announcement speaks to Duke's integrity as an institution, to its mission, and to its belief in Collin Finnerty's innocence."

The Seligmann family said the invitation demonstrates the case is groundless.

"By now it should be plain to any person who has any objectivity that the charges against Reade are transparently false," the family said in a statement Wednesday.

Finnerty and Seligmann haven't decided whether they will return, their lawyers said.

They are still charged with sexual assault and kidnapping, and the university could punish them if they are convicted of any of the charges, Larry Moneta, Duke's vice president for student affairs, said in a letter to Duke's president.

However, university officials made it clear that their estimation of the prosecution's case has changed.

"As circumstances have evolved in this extraordinary case, we have attempted to balance recognition of the gravity of legal charges with the presumption of your innocence," Moneta said in a letter to Seligmann and Finnerty dated Tuesday.

"Now with the approach of a new term, we believe that circumstances warrant that we strike this balance differently. At this point, continued extension of the administrative leave would do unwarranted harm to your educational progress."

The university was swept up in a tide of publicity, outrage and shock last spring when a black woman who attended nearby North Carolina Central University alleged she had been raped at a lacrosse team party last March.

Rape charges against Finnerty, Seligmann and co-defendant Dave Evans -- who graduated in May a day before he was charged -- were dropped last month, after the woman wavered on some key details. (Watch why rape charges were dropped )

The men are not expected to go to trial before the spring.

Since leaving Duke, Finnerty has volunteered to work with children who lost family in the terrorist attacks of September 11 and has taken courses at Hofstra University near his home in Garden City, New York, his attorney said.

The next step in the case is a hearing scheduled for February 5, when defense attorneys are expected to attack the results of a photo lineup in which the accuser identified the players. Without her identification, experts said, District Attorney Mike Nifong might have to drop the other charges.

Nifong did not return a call Wednesday.

Nifong dropped the rape charges after the accuser said she was no longer certain she had been penetrated vaginally by a penis, a necessary element of rape charges in North Carolina.

Seligmann, Finnerty and Evans have maintained their innocence, with Evans calling the charges "fantastic lies" the day he was indicted in May. Their lawyers have called on Nifong to drop the remaining charges.

The case led to the resignation of longtime coach Mike Pressler and the university's decision to cancel the remainder of the season for the highly ranked lacrosse team.

-----------------------------------------------------

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It's disgraceful that Duke's president caved in to the pressure being put on him by a few rich and powerful families.

Your stupid. This whore destroyed their lives with lies. She just wanted money. I am in school studying to be a lawyer and I can tell you, Nifong botched this case from the beginning. He never had credible witnesses, a credible story and for that matter, a credible victim. She was a WHORE aka someone who can't be trusted.

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This coming from someone who doesn't know how to spell "you're".

:S I was running on 2 hrs sleep :S

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It doens't matter how much sleep you have/haven't gotten, let's refrain from making derogatory remarks. Debate the merits of the subject, not your perception of someone's intellectual capacity or spelling abilities. People are also reminded to refrain from using crude and inappropriate characterizations to describe those involved with the court case.

MM

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Things I've seen at my university, a school of about 12,000:

Underage Possession of alcohol - so many times it's not even funny

Public urination (on-campus) - seen it

Theft of pizza - seen it

Unlawful possession of fireworks - the entire state of Illinois breaks this one

Underage Possession of alcohol - it's called college

Playing drinking game - yep

On-campus property damage - yep

Smoking marijuana in room - in addition to dropping acid

Noise policy - yep

Attempted theft of banner - yep

Alcohol Use - again, it's college

Attempted theft of banner - you're repeating yourself

On-campus property damage - ditto

Sending emails - since when was this a crime?

Alcohol in dorm room - that's not against rules, if you're of age

Underage possession of alcohol - again, repeating...it's called college

Noise policy - repeating

Fire safety in dorm - there was a fire in my apartment that was ruled to be due to university housing's negligence.

Failure to appear for proceeding - that's not just at college

Public urination - already mentioned this one

Underage possession of alcohol - yep

Alcohol in dorm room - yep

Noise policy - yep

Providing false identification - just down the street

Drinking game in dorm room - lol it's the rule, not the exception

Alcohol in dorm room - yep

Drinking Game in dorm room - ever heard of a frat house?

Noise policy - yep

Suspicion of throwing water - i'm pretty sure we did that at homecoming. i don't think that's...a crime?

Accomplice to underage possession - all over the place

Fraudulent use of Duke student card - it's a different school, but they do that here.

Failure to comply with judicial order - yep.

Possession of alcohol in dorm room - repeat

Noise policy (on-campus) - repeat

Noise ordinance (off-campus) - repeat

Intoxication - you never saw a frat, did you

Open container of alcohol in car - that's all over the country

Underage possession of alcohol - college life

Public urination - seen it myself

Unlawful entry into another student's room - yep

Destruction of property (on campus) - yep

Suspicion of damaging property - yep, in the school newspaper

Noise ordinance (off-campus) - same as above

Drinking party in dorm room - redundant

I go to a mid-size public Midwestern university. You described every such university in America, and probably the world. To say it's a bunch of rich white guys that are above the law is a gross overstatement.

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Exactly what I was getting at.

I've done pretty much everything listed there. Does that make me a felon who runs around raping strippers?

I just don't understand how someone is innocent until proven guilty, yet in this case, these boys were guilty from the moment it hit the press.

Now we are finding that there is no case whatsoever against them and it was all a fabricated story. Who is saying sorry to the duke players? There was a black panther on the news just an hour ago still chanting they were guilty and needed to rot in jail. Why? Because they were white and white men committed atrocities against blacks in the 1700's....

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