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Thursday, April 6, 2006
Attorney: Pressler 'has done nothing wrong' news services

A day after Mike Pressler resigned as head coach of the Duke men's lacrosse team amid allegations of rape and assault committed by his players, the embattled coach made an attempt to clear his name.

"Recent events have been very difficult for Duke University, the lacrosse program, and Coach Pressler personally," said Pressler's attorney, Edward J. Falcone, in a statement issued Thursday on Pressler's behalf. "Coach Pressler felt that it was in the mutual best interest of himself and Duke University to resign as coach. His resignation should not be construed as an indication that he has done anything wrong. He has done nothing wrong. …

"Coach Pressler is no more guarantor of the behavior of 18-21 year olds than are parents of children that age."

The statement did not explain why Pressler chose to resign at this point in the investigation.

Duke president Richard Brodhead called Pressler's resignation "highly appropriate" on Wednesday, but declined to say whether it had been requested.

Also Wednesday, the university cancelled the remainder of the lacrosse team's season, and suspended sophomore Ryan McFadyen, whose e-mail rant about killing and skinning strippers in his Duke University dorm room was unsealed by the courts early in the day.

Authorities have taken DNA samples from the team's 46 white players. The sole black player has been ruled out. Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong has said that he is "pretty confident that a rape occurred," but that he does not expect to file charges until next week.

Information from The Associated Press is included in this report.