Saturday, August 5, 2006

Duke Case: Running with the Mob

I hope someone like Robert KC Johnson writes a book giving the full story of the Duke lacrosse rape hoax once this mess is over. There has been so much pin action since the initial rape accusation was made. It's easy to forget now how furious the witch hunters were and how poorly Duke President Brodhead treated the lacrosse team and especially coach Mike Pressler. Mike Pressler was tarred and feathered and then ridden out of Durham on rail by a Duke administration that had joined the mad mob. Mr. Johnson writes: the early days of D.A. Mike Nifong’s pre-primary publicity barrage, Pressler and his family were subjected to death threats. Protesters taped signs to his house with such messages as “DO YOUR DUTY. TURN THEM IN.” Several days later, when the Group of 88 issued their “listening” statement, the professors offered a message for such protesters: “Thank you for not waiting and for making yourselves heard.”

Pressler’s de facto dismissal occurred immediately after the Ryan McFayden e-mail was publicly released, on April 5. (The emergence of this e-mail remains a mystery; it seems increasingly likely that the e-mail was not turned over by an anonymous lacrosse player, as initially alleged, but simply released by local authorities. The team captains had voluntarily given authorities access to their e-mail accounts even as Nifong misleadingly charged that the players had “not been fully cooperative.”)

Brodhead announced Pressler’s forced departure and the cancellation of the team’s season in a public statement to the University community. The remarks strongly implied—without stating so directly—that a rape occurred, although, he added, all players were innocent until proven guilty.
Scapegoating [Robert KC Johnson |, Aug. 4, 2006]

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