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Prosecutor seeks 3rd suspect in Duke rape case

Two lacrosse players charged with rape, kidnapping



Sex Crimes
Duke University

DURHAM, North Carolina (CNN) -- Two Duke University lacrosse team members were charged Tuesday in the rape of a woman hired to dance at a team party, and the district attorney is trying to determine the identity of a third suspect.

Reade Seligmann and Collin Finnerty, both sophomores, are charged with first-degree forcible rape, first-degree sexual offense and kidnapping, officials said.

District Attorney Mike Nifong said authorities were trying to gather sufficient evidence to identify a third suspect. (Two Duke students surrender -- 2:10)

"It had been my hope to be able to charge all three of the assailants at the same time, but the evidence available to me at this moment does not permit that," Nifong said.

"It is important that we not only bring the assailants to justice but also that we lift the cloud of suspicion from those team members who were not involved in the assault."

Kirk Osborn, one of Seligmann's attorneys, said lawyers arranged the surrender of the two men early Tuesday.

"It's hard to put in words the unfairness and injustice," Osborn said. "We look forward [to] showing he is absolutely innocent as soon as we can." (Watch as CNN's Jeffrey Toobin explains what will happen to the two students -- 2:15)

Another defense attorney, Bill Thomas, called the indictments "absolutely outrageous."

"The two that they indicted had no contact with this woman whatsoever," he said. "We are shocked, absolutely shocked. We always thought she would pick out someone who at least had a conversation with her."

Sources close to the investigation said Tuesday that the defense will present evidence -- including ATM receipts -- that neither Seligmann, 20, nor Finnerty, 19, were at the team party at the time the alleged rape took place.

A cab driver allegedly carried one of the young men to an ATM, where a security camera captured his picture, the sources said, and the other man was reportedly at a restaurant.

Deputies brought the two men to Durham County jail before 5 a.m. ET Tuesday, and they were fingerprinted and photographed.

Seligmann waived his right to appear in court and was represented by his attorneys. Finnerty made a brief court appearance. Both men posted $400,000 bail. Their next court date is May 15.

Upon leaving jail, Seligmann ran with another man to a Ford Explorer with New Jersey license plates, The (Raleigh) News & Observer reported. The vehicle then ran a red light, according to the paper.

The newspaper identified Seligmann's hometown as Essex Fells, New Jersey, and Finnerty's as Garden City, New York.

In November, Finnerty was arrested on assault charges in Washington, according to the paper. Citing his attorney, the paper said Finnerty had been ordered to perform community service and the charges would be dropped if he performs the service and avoids new arrests.

A grand jury in North Carolina returned sealed indictments Monday against Seligmann and Finnerty.

A 27-year-old student at North Carolina Central University told police three men raped and beat her March 13 at an off-campus party thrown by Duke lacrosse players.

She and another woman were hired to perform as dancers there. The case has inflamed racial and economic divisions in Durham, which is home to both the accuser's historically black public university and the elite Duke. She is African-American; the accused are white.

On Tuesday, the woman's cousin said the indictments brought some degree of vindication. "We just want to let her know we're there for her, because she's been afraid to talk to so many people for so long," said Jackie, whose last name was withheld to protect the accuser's identity.

"She's a very sweet girl. She's very humble. She's the youngest of three, very quiet," the cousin said.

"She's your average 27-year-old trying to take care of her family," she added, referring to the woman's two children.

Court documents filed in the case have said a medical examination of the accuser showed signs consistent with sexual assault. DNA samples from the players failed to match material collected by investigators, defense attorneys hired by some of the players said last week.

The defense lawyers also said photos taken at the party show the woman was injured before she arrived.

The allegations have resulted in the cancellation of the lacrosse season, the resignation of the team's coach, Mike Pressler, and public scrutiny of what Duke President Richard Brodhead called the "history of boorish behavior and underage drinking" among players.

Duke's athletics director, Joe Alleva, had warned Pressler to get his team "in line" following a high-level review of disciplinary records last year, The (Durham) Herald-Sun quoted Alleva as saying Monday.

The paper also quoted the dean of students, Sue Wasiolek, as saying her office had compiled a "disproportionate" number of violations and that about half the team had been cited for alcohol violations and disruptive conduct.

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