Duke lacrosse players were raped

by Jim Longworth

Let’s be clear about something. A rape has occurred in Durham, but it wasn’t perpetrated upon an exotic dancer. Instead, it was three Duke lacrosse players who were victimized in brutal fashion by a political opportunist. Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong never interviewed the alleged participants, and, as it turned out, never had a case against them either. But that didn’t stop Nifong, who used the rape charges to drum up African-American support for his re-election campaign. He promised people of color that he would convict the three white athletes. The quid pro quo was votes. The ploy worked. Of course, no one remembers the name of Nifong’s opponent in that “race about race”, because the real losers were three Duke students.

To add insult to injury, a number of developments in the case have since been revealed which further weakened Nifong’s crusade. The female dancer’s partner, who also performed at the Duke party, told the late Ed Bradley on “60 Minutes” that no rape took place, and that the alleged victim was never held against her will. Then we learned that the stripper plaintiff had had sex prior to the party, and that she is now about to give birth. This revelation came on the heels of the fact that none of the DNA evidence found on her matched any of the defendants.

Then, just before Christmas came the biggest bombshell. The alleged victim said she could not be sure she was raped after all, and would not testify against the three men.

Nifong had no choice but to drop the rape charge, and had he been an honest civil servant, he would have asked that the entire case be dismissed. But not Mighty Mike. Instead he will still pursue charges of kidnapping and sexual assault, despite the other stripper’s testimony that her friend was not held against her will.

So why is Nifong not turning the defendants loose? Because he is an egotistical, manipulative, corrupt jerk, that’s why. He must now try and save face at all costs. The problem is that taxpayers are footing the bill for his witch hunt. Moreover, his actions have been tantamount to malfeasance of office, and he should be fired immediately. He should also be disbarred and ordered to pay all of the athletes’ legal bills for the malicious and frivolous case he brought against them. Until then, we can only hope that the trial judge sees through Nifong, and will dismiss the charges.

But no matter how the case ends, Nifong and his story-telling stripper have seriously set back the cause of legitimate rape prosecutions, and given us all yet another reason to distrust the criminal justice system.

This case was never really about race, but it became one when a dangerous DA played the race card in order to further his own career.

They say to the victor goes the spoils. I guess that’s right, because Nifong was victorious in re-election, and then managed to spoil the reputations of three men for something they never did.

Now it’s time to spoil Nifong’s future in public life.

Jim Longworth is host of “Triad Today” which can be seen Friday mornings at 6:30 a.m. on ABC 45 (cable channel 7), and Sunday nights at 10 p.m. on MY48 (cable channel 15).