Monday, June 18, 2007

A lesson in innocence

The horrible miscarriage of justice in the cases of the Duke University lacrosse players falsely accused of rape is a prime example of why American justice insists that a person charged with a crime is considered innocent until proven guilty.

Unfortunately, that is not always the case with institutions and people.

Duke University has settled with the three players for undisclosed amounts because "it is in the best interests of the Duke community to eliminate the possibility of future litigation and move forward," according to a written statement released by the university.

After the rape charges first surfaced in the spring of 2006, Duke canceled the men's lacrosse season and forced the resignation of coach Mike Pressler. Dozens of Duke faculty members known as the "Group of 88" signed a statement criticizing the lacrosse team.

Reade Seligmann and Collin Finnerty were suspended from Duke after their indictments. David Evans graduated from Duke just before he was indicted.

"This has been an extraordinary year for Duke students David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann," Duke added in today's statement.

"We welcomed their exoneration and deeply regret the difficult year they and their families have had to endure. They conducted themselves with great dignity during their long ordeal."

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