Print and Go Back ESPN.com: NCAA [Print without images]

Wednesday, April 26, 2006
Duke lacrosse players cite money dispute

ESPN.com news services

Several Duke lacrosse players who say they were at a team party the night of the alleged rape of a 27-year-old woman have told ESPN's George Smith that an argument over money and the amount of time two exotic dancers were expected to perform was at the center of a dispute that night.

The players, who agreed to speak with ESPN on the condition their names not be used, also admitted that slurs and bad language were used by some players and the dancers during the argument.

Last week, a grand jury indicted players Reade Seligmann, a sophomore from Essex Fells, N.J., and Collin Finnerty, a sophomore from Garden City, N.Y., on charges of rape, kidnapping and sexual assault.

The woman, an exotic dancer who had been hired to perform at a team party March 13, told police three men raped her in a bathroom of an off-campus house.

The scandal has led Duke to cancel the season and forced coach Mike Pressler's resignation.

The players, who would not go on camera, also would not discuss many details about the case or answer more specific questions about exactly what happened.

But they told ESPN's Smith that not all 47 players were at the party at the time the woman said she was raped; some had already left. The players told Smith they admit it was foolish to have the party, but deny that any rape occurred. They also believe the two students charged so far will not be convicted.

Defense attorneys had no comment on the ESPN story. Neither did Durham district attorney Mike Nifong, who continues to proceed with this case and has said he expects to charge a third person soon.

The father of the accuser, meanwhile, told MSNBC on Tuesday night that his daughter had considered dropping the case, but as of now he says she will go through with it. His name wasn't used so as not to reveal the identity of the accuser.

"She has talked about it," the accuser's father said of dropping the case. "She has talked about it. As a matter of fact, she told me it was getting to be too much on her. She couldn't take it. So far, she's still hanging in there though.

"I'm hoping she will hang in there, but I know it's getting rough on her now. . . . I'm praying and hoping that she don't [drop the case]."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report