Rape Charges Dropped Against Lacrosse Players

Three Duke University lacrosse players will no longer face rape charges, however, they are still accused of a kidnapping charge and a sexual offense charge that carries the same penalty as rape.

Prosecutor Mike Nifong dropped the first-degree rape charges against Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty, and David Evans--though the three defendants are still charged with kidnapping and sexual offense. Defense Attorney Joseph Cheshire said, "We know these boys are absolutely innocent. Are we frustrated that this case continues on? Yes, we're enourmously frustrated." In his court filing, Nifong said the 28-year old accuser told an investigator this week she could no longer testify that she was raped as defined by the law. He also cited the lack of DNA evidence supporting the allegation. "Since there is no scientific or other evidence independent of the victim's testimony the State is unable to meet its burden of proof with respect to this offense," said Nifong.

The defense has chipped away at the accuser's credibility, highlighting inconsistencies in her account of the alleged attack and criticizing how she identified the defendants. The dismissal of rape charges is just a week after it was revealed the accuser is pregnant.