Duke Rape CaseI haven't said much on this so far. I put a lot of my time in college into rape prevention and rape defense classes. I volunteered with groups to escort female students from place to place on campus at night. I am highly sympathetic to rape victims and highly unsympathetic to rapists' claims of curable diseases. It is an emotional issue for me, having known so many rape and domestic assault victims personally and helped them work through things, legal and personal, as much as I could with my limited years of experience. The professionals just can't do everything that needs to be done for such victims because of budget constraints and women on a college campus often don't have the luxury of family and life long friends near by.
I really don't know if this woman was raped at the party or not and I don't think anybody but the accuser knows that at this point. I have 4 points to make that, hopefully, make no judgment on that issue at this time.
1. It seems pretty clear that one of the accused wasn't there when the alleged rape occurs. This would seem to assist the other accused, who also claims not to have been there during the relevant time frame, with reasonable doubt. This DA's case seems to be in big trouble unless there is a smoking gun that hasn't been leaked to the press (an idea I find less and less likely with passing days).
2. This leads me back to my ongoing plea that the antique media (with or without legislation) stop releasing the names of those accused of rape until they are convicted. I have no problems with not releasing the names of accusers on the basis that there are ramifications for rape victims that are not the same as burglary or simple assault. I support that. The same logic applies at least as strongly on those accused; today I would actually argue that the stigma of being accused falsely of rape is more severe than the stigma of being raped. Once convicted, plaster their names and faces all over the world, but until that time their names should be withheld.
3. I still have issue with a judge ordering DNA testing for all members of the team with no proof that a particular player was even there. Imagine the following scenario: a white/hispanic woman janitor goes to the DA and claims that two black men, whose faces she cannot identify, raped her in the restroom at last night's NAACP meeting in D.C. Do you see a judge ordering DNA testing of all the black male members of the NAACP who were invited to the meeting, with no proof they were there, and excluding a search of white men who were known to have been there? Wouldn't the ACLU be all over that court order? Would it not be a headline of outrage in all the major papers for days? I am not a lawyer but the fact that these tests were court ordered on such thin evidence is disturbing. It seems to violate the right against self incrimination on its face.
4. Assuming the judge isn't a complete lunatic, one assumes that before said court order was given there was something to compare the DNA swabs to. I further assume, and may be wrong here, that said DNA evidence from the victim was damning in the event of a match, i.e. sperm or epithelials from inside her that don't match her or pubic hairs on her or her undergarments or skin cells from under her nails. I would not assume that any sane judge would order these tests on the basis of skin cells found on the back of the accuser's hand or coat. Since we know that the "evidence DNA" that they tried to match to the players didn't match any of the players, why are they not extending the search for the attackers beyond the team? I went to a fair share of parties at college and I never heard of anybody throwing a party that was exclusive of non-members. Frat parties always had non-frat people at them. Team parties did too. Even dorm floor parties always had friends of both sexes who did not live on the floor. The fact that the police don't seem to be searching for people who aren't on the team at this time seems awfully suspicious and/or stupid to me.
In closing, the DA's case seems to be falling apart because he was/is an idiot. The woman may have been abused at this party or she may not have. We don't know. What is becoming clear is that the behavior of the DA is likely to guarantee that nobody is convicted. The other thing that is clear is that at least 43 (of the 46) young men were smeared by the media for a crime they did not commit and seem to not believe even occurred. Their season was cancelled, their coach was fired and they will never be able to fully escape this negative impression of their character.
I hope that the truth eventually comes out in full surrounding this incident. At this point that seems pretty unlikely. I hope I am wrong about that.