Duke co-captain posts bond, released
DURHAM, N.C. -- In a 24-hour span, Duke University lacrosse captain David Evans received both a bachelor's degree and an indictment naming him as the third player charged with sexually assaulting an exotic dancer at a team party.
Monday, minutes before turning himself in to authorities, the clean-cut athlete stood up and loudly proclaimed that he and the rest of his teammates were innocent of allegations he labeled "fantastic lies."
"I look forward to watching them unravel in the weeks to come," said the 23-year-old economics major from Bethesda, Md.
"I am innocent. Reade Seligmann is innocent. Collin Finnerty is innocent," Evans said, defending the two other players charged. "Every member of the Duke lacrosse team is innocent. ... You have all been told some fantastic lies.
"I'll gladly stand up to anything that comes against me. I've never had my character questioned before. Anyone who's met me knows this didn't happen."
Evans, who lived at the house where the party was held, was indicted on charges of first-degree forcible rape, sexual offense and kidnapping. Seligmann, 20, of Essex Fells, N.J., and Finnerty, 19, of Garden City, N.Y., were indicted last month on the same charges.
Evans turned himself in and was released after posting a $400,000 bond. He was scheduled to make a first appearance in court Tuesday, but his attorneys waived the hearing. His next court date is the week of June 19.
Along with several lacrosse players, Evans was backed at his news conference by his family, including mother Rae Evans, a Washington lobbyist who is also the chairwoman of the Ladies Professional Golf Association board of directors.
Evans said that he and his roommates helped police find evidence at the house, and that he gave investigators access to his e-mail and instant messenger accounts. He said that his offer to take a lie-detector test was rejected by authorities, and that he later took one on his own and passed.
"I have told the truth from the beginning," he said.
Evans' indictment appeared to cap the investigation into allegations that three white men raped a 27-year-old black woman who is a student at nearby North Carolina Central University. She and another woman were hired to strip at a March 13 team party. Hours after Evans spoke outside the Durham County jail, District Attorney Mike Nifong said he did not expect any more indictments.
Defense attorneys insist no sexual assault occurred at the party. They pointed to DNA tests, which they have said found no conclusive match between any of the team's white players and the accuser.
"We will prove that not only did this rape not happen, but it could not have happened," said Evans' attorney, Joseph Cheshire.
"This is one of the saddest days for justice in the state of North Carolina," he said. "This case has been taken out to the news media before an investigation was finished by a person who was seeking public office."
Cheshire said the accuser had identified Evans with "90 percent certainty" during a photo lineup. Cheshire said the accuser told police she would be 100 percent sure if Evans had a mustache -- something he said his client has never had.
Cheshire said some genetic material on a fake fingernail recovered from a bathroom trash can at the house did have some of the same characteristics as Evans' DNA, but called it a link short of a conclusive match.
Evans, an economics major who graduated Sunday, came to Duke from the Landon School, a prep school in suburban Washington, where he also played football and hockey and led the lacrosse team to a three-year record of 56-2.
"He was an exemplary student and athlete," David M. Armstrong, the school's headmaster, said in a statement. "The allegations coming from Durham today are inconsistent with the character of the young man who attended our school."
Last week, Evans lost a deal that would have kept him from being charged with old alcohol and noise violations after prosecutors said he had violated the terms of the agreement by hosting the party.
Prosecutors had agreed to deferred prosecution on an August 2005 charge of having an open container of alcohol in a vehicle, and a January charge of violating the city's noise ordinance. The state had agreed to dismiss the charges if Evans completed community service, paid court costs and stayed out of trouble.
A judge reinstated the alcohol charge, Evans' attorney entered a plea on his behalf, and the student was fined $100.
Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press
Lacrosse Scandal at Duke
• Disgraced prosecutor Nifong dropped from lawsuit
• Former prosecutor Nifong files for bankruptcy
• Three Duke lax players sue school, prosecutor
• Dept. of Justice won't investigate Nifong
• Ex-Duke lacrosse coach suing school
• Wrongly accused players sue city, ex-DA
• Duke president apologizes to accused lax players
• Ex-Duke DA Nifong serves sentence, leaves jail
• Exonerated Duke players seek $30M settlement
• Nifong reports for one-day jail sentence
• Nifong held in criminal contempt
• Nifong pleads not guilty to contempt charges
• Four lax players returning to Duke for 5th season
• Nifong apologizes for wrongdoing in Duke case
• State Bar formally orders disbarment for Nifong
• Lax player in Duke case transfers to Loyola, Md.
• Nifong a no-show at removal hearing
• Player's attorneys call for contempt on Nifong
• Nifong's predecessor named as interim replacement
• Governor set to replace Nifong as Durham D.A.
• Duke, former lacrosse players reach settlement
• Judge: Nifong must leave office immediately
• Disciplinary panel disbars Nifong
• Prosecutor Nifong says he'll resign
• Lax player's lawyer testifies about evidence
• Testimony: No conspiracy to hide evidence
• Duke prosecutor faces disbarment in trial
• NCAA grants Duke lax players extra season
• Cleared Duke player Seligmann to attend Brown
• Hopkins ends Duke's run, wins ninth lacrosse title
• Cleared Duke player Seligmann to attend Brown
• Police made mistakes in lineup
• Ex-Duke coach; University caved in to pressure
• AG's office releases report
• Cossack: Case crumbled early
• Nifong apologizes to players
• Ex-coach never lost faith
• What they're saying
• All charges dismissed
• Defense attorney in Duke lacrosse case dies
• Former prosecutor fighting charges
• Top N.C. prosecutor tours Duke lacrosse house
• Ex-DA defends self against charges
• Duke urges diversity following rape allegations
• Duke wins season opener
• Team greeted by near-record support
• Players ready to return to field
• Brown recruiting Duke player charged with assault
• Opponent wants D.A. removed from office
• Grand jurors speak out
• Hearing postponed until May
• Duke begins practice for 2007 season
• Nifong faces more ethics charges from state bar
• Nifong gets extension to answer complaint
• NAACP asks for thorough exam of case
• Prosecutor's future uncertain
• Attorney general takes over
• Prosecutor asks off case
• Defense: Accuser said one player just watched
• Judge orders paternity test
• Duke prez defends decision
• Ex-player sues over failing grade
• Lawyer: Players invited back to class
• N.C. State Bar files complaint against prosecutor
• D.A. drops rape charges
• Legal experts: Why the remaining charges?
• Judge OKs paternity tests
• Report: Accuser is pregnant
• Defense attorneys: No Duke players' DNA found on woman
• Justice Department asked to investigate Duke case