The victim of an alleged sexual assault by three white Duke lacrosse players has identified at least one of her attackers, according to District Attorney Mike Nifong. Though initial DNA tests did not conclusively link any of the players to the assault, Nifong has said that he had sufficient additional evidence to believe that a sexual assault did occur, according to the New York Times. Examinations of the victim shortly after the alleged rape showed that she had symptoms consistent with sexual assault, according to the Associated Press.
The alleged victim, an African American, and another woman had been hired to perform as exotic dancers at a party held at a house rented by three lacrosse team captains. In addition to rape, the woman has alleged that she was physically assaulted by the players, and subjected to racial slurs. No charges have been filed yet in the case, but the grand jury in Durham meets on Monday. At a forum on violence against women at North Carolina Central University, where the alleged victim is a student, Nifong said, “In this case, I would expect a jury gets to evaluate the evidence,” according to the Raleigh News & Observer.
In a letter to the Duke community, Duke University president Richard Brodhead said that the alleged criminal acts have brought deep issues to the foreground, including “issues of race and gender, É [and] concerns about the deep structures of inequality in our society – inequalities of wealth, privilege, and opportunity (including educational opportunity), and the attitudes of superiority those inequalities breed.” President Brodhead announced five steps that Duke was taking in response to the situation, including canceling the lacrosse season, investigating the response of the administration, examining the student judicial process, launching a “Campus Culture Initiative” to address the values and responsibilities of the Duke community, and convening a Presidential Council to offer advice and guidance as Duke moves forward.