May 15, 2006

Third lacrosse player charged in Duke rape case

MIAMI (Reuters) - A third Duke University lacrosse player
was indicted on Monday on charges of raping a dancer at a team
party and immediately declared his innocence, calling the
allegations "fantastic lies."

David Evans, a co-captain of the lacrosse team, was charged
with rape, sexual offense and kidnapping, the same charges
brought last month against two teammates, Reade Seligmann and
Collin Finnerty.

The accusations of rape brought by a black woman against
the three white students at the elite U.S. university has
captured attention of the U.S. media and some community
activists, who are citing it as an example of racial and class
tensions in Durham, North Carolina, where the school is

At a news conference, carried live on national television
from outside the jail where he turned himself in, Evans said he
had tried to provide prosecutors with evidence clearing himself
and his teammates but had been turned away.

Surrounded by his teammates wearing business attire, Evans
said he had taken a lie detector test that proved his innocence
of the rape of the woman, who was hired to dance and strip at
the party on March 13.

"I am innocent. Reade Seligmann is innocent. Collin
Finnerty is innocent. Every member of the Duke University
lacrosse team is innocent," Evans said. "You have all been told
some fantastic lies and I look forward to seeing them unravel
in the weeks to come ... the truth will come out."

The players' accuser, a 27-year-old mother of two hired to
dance at an off-campus home shared by three of the players,
told police the next day she had been raped by three white men.

The three played on the nationally ranked Duke lacrosse
team. The coach resigned and the university canceled the team's
season after weeks of community protests following the rape

The case has sparked wide U.S. media coverage of Duke,
where the annual cost of tuition and board exceeds the average
annual income of families in the city.