Duke University has invited two of the men’s lacrosse players accused of sexual assault to return to school as students in good standing.
Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann had been barred from attending class during the fall semester while their case made its way through court. The third player charged in the case, Dave Evans, graduated in May, the day before he was charged with raping an exotic dancer at a team party in March.
“We have decided that the right and fair thing to do is to welcome back Reade Seligmann and Collin Finnerty to resume their studies at Duke for the spring semester,” Duke President Richard H. Brodhead said in a statement on Wednesday. “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.”
Rape charges against all three players were dropped last month, after the accuser said she could no longer remember some details about the case. The men are still charged with sexual offense and kidnapping.
“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,” Larry Moneta, Duke’s vice president for student affairs said in a letter to Seligmann 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.”
Seligmann’s attorney, James P. Cooney III, says Finnerty received the same offer.
As for whether Seligmann would accept the offer and return to school, Cooney says: “He’s considering his options.”
Finnerty’s attorneys did not immediately return a call.
— Associated Press and Diverse staff
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