Duke athletes’ DNA doesn’t match up

By Iza Wojciechowska U-Wire

DURHAM, N.C. – Members of the Duke University and Durham, N.C., communities expressed emotions ranging from acceptance to surprise after lawyers for members of the men’s lacrosse team announced Monday that DNA taken from players did not match any samples obtained from a woman who claims she was raped by three players on March 13.

John Burness, senior vice president for public affairs and government relations, said, however, that until legal clarity is established in the case, the University administration cannot take any actions.

“From the start, we’ve said that it’s important for [the investigation] to be completed,” he said. “We must have confidence that the investigation will get to the truth.”

He added University committees formed last week to examine broader themes – such as social life and lacrosse culture – will continue to look into issues raised by the incident, regardless of the outcome of the investigation.

“The incident on March 13 has raised questions about the University and its values and culture that the independent review will explore,” Burness said. “It will help everyone understand the issue better.”

Some Duke students said the results were surprising, but they noted that the lack of a DNA match does not necessarily close the case. Several said their skepticism stemmed, in part, from the strong assertions of guilt made by District Attorney Mike Nifong and the alleged victim’s medical results.

“You definitely can’t discount that because those results are negative that a rape did not occur,” said Chalice Overy, a third-year student in the Divinity School.