Settlement reached in Duke Lacrosse case

Three men on Duke's lacrosse team were charged with first degree forcible rape in 2006. The charges were dropped because the stripper's story changed. (AP photo)

Three men on Duke's lacrosse team were charged with first degree forcible rape in 2006. The charges were dropped because the stripper's story changed. (AP photo)

DURHAM, N.C. — Durham has settled a lawsuit filed by members of the Duke University men’s 2006 lacrosse team who were exonerated of sexually assaulting an exotic dancer in 2006, the North Carolina city said in a statement Friday.

The city has settled with former players David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann, who were wrongly accused of a sexual assault at a party.

As part of the settlement, Durham will make a one-time grant of $50,000 to the North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission.

“As the City has maintained throughout, it believes that its police officers had an obligation to investigate the allegations made by Crystal Mangum in 2006 and that no police officer nor any other City employee engaged in improper conduct,” the statement said. “The former District Attorney, Mike Nifong, was not a City employee, and Mr. Nifong was subsequently convicted of criminal contempt and disbarred for his actions.”

Nifong also spent a day in jail for his handling of the case.

The charges against the three men forced the cancellation of the team’s highly anticipated 2006 season and cost coach Mike Pressler his job.

In April 2007, North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper reviewed the case and exonerated the three men, declaring that the charges never should have been brought against them.

“When Attorney General Roy Cooper announced his decision … the City expressed its concurrence in Attorney General Cooper’s decision,” the statement said. “Today, the City reaffirms that it fully concurs with the Attorney General’s decision to dismiss the charges, and with his conclusion that Mr. Evans, Mr. Seligmann, and Mr. Finnerty were innocent of the charges for which they were indicted.”

Duke University and the three players reached an undisclosed settlement shortly after the charges were dropped in 2007.

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