A month after two members of the Duke University lacrosse team were indicted in connection with the alleged rape of a North Carolina Central University student working as an exotic dancer, a grand jury has indicted a third player, a day after he graduated from Duke.
Dave Forker Evans of Bethesda, Md., was charged May 15 with first-degree forcible rape, first-degree sexual offense and first-degree kidnapping of the student who was hired to dance at a party in March.
Evans, 23, voluntarily turned himself in to the Durham County, N.C., authorities and posted a $400,000 bail. Evans’ parents and senior members of the lacrosse team were present.
“I am absolutely innocent of all the charges that have been brought against me today,” Evans, a co-captain of the team, said at a news conference in front of the Durham County Detention Center. He also proclaimed the innocence of the other two defendants, Reade Seligmann of Essex Fells, N.J., and Collin Finnerty of Garden City, N.Y.
Evans was scheduled to make a first appearance in court Tuesday, but his attorneys waived the hearing.
WRAL-TV, quoting a police transcript of the lineup identification, said the alleged victim identified Evans with 90 percent accuracy.
“He looks just like him without the mustache,” she reportedly said.
The alleged victim is a 27-year-old mother of two and former Navy enlistee who had been working for an unidentified escort company for two months prior to the March 13 party at a house owned by Duke University. Evans and other captains of the lacrosse team lived in the house.
The woman was an honor student at NCCU.
According to a Durham Police warrant, the alleged victim said she and another dancer, Kim Roberts, originally went to the house to dance for five men, but once inside found more than 40.
After they started to dance, the shouted made racial slurs and became aggressive, the warrant said. The women left, but were talked into returning.
Once inside, Roberts and the alleged victim became separated.
According to the alleged victim, she was pulled into the bathroom by three men and was hit, kicked, strangled and sexually assaulted for 30 minutes.
Various media have quoted Roberts as saying she did not witness the alleged rape.
Evans’ lawyer, Joe Cheshire, said at the press conference, “This is a sad day for justice in the state of North Carolina.”
Evans said his attempts to contact District Attorney Mike Nifong to give his side of the story were refused, something Cheshire said he had never experienced.
“We have sought time and time again — he has refused to talk to us as of 9:30 today,” Cheshire said.
Both NCCU and Duke officials issued statements.
“The case involving the Duke lacrosse incident is complex and has many layers, as is evident by the indictment today of a third member of the Duke lacrosse team,” said NCCU Chancellor James H. Ammons. “As the case unfolds, we must continue to be patient while the legal system provides due diligence.
“We remain concerned about the alleged acts of violence, but we are still committed to allowing the legal system to complete its task of making sure justice is served.”
John F. Burness, Duke’s senior vice president for public affairs and government relations, said: “It is important to remember that an indictment is not a conviction. Ultimately, the district attorney will be responsible for presenting his evidence, and a jury will decide the innocence or guilt of Mr. Evans and the other two young men who have been charged. As Duke President Richard H. Brodhead has said consistently, a person in our legal system is innocent until proven guilty. It is worth repeating again today that these latest charges do not mean the accused are guilty. That is for a jury to decide.
“From the start, our campus and the Durham community have faced the challenge of balancing compassion with judgment. We all hope that the legal process will proceed to a speedy resolution so that everyone can know the truth.”
Evans graduated from Duke the day before the indictment, but his name was not called, his lawyer said. He had chosen to have his degree mailed to him.
— Black College Wire
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