Reader K.H. objects to my cynical coverage (here, here, and here) of the case of the two white Duke University lacrosse players arrested yesterday for the alleged gang-rape of an African-American stripper hired to entertain the team on March 14:

“Obviously, the whole Duke case is a huge mess. However, it would seem wise that if you’re going to argue to withhold judgment on the Duke players’ guilt or innocence, perhaps you should withhold judgment on the alleged victim as well- no one knows yet if she’s ‘crying rape’ as your headline says- or if actually she was raped. It’s a two-way street. I am continually amazed that when it comes to rapes, all sides of the media seem to screw it up so badly–the accused are guilty rapists from the start and the alleged victims end up whores, liars, whatever. Everyone loses, even the innocent, whoever they may be.”

Just to clarify: The expression “crying rape” (like “crying murder” or “crying theft”) doesn’t mean the accuser is necessarily a liar. It just means she’s an accuser.

As to whether the woman was telling the truth when she claimed that three drunken lacrosse players ganged up on her in the bathroom and spent 20 minutes savagely raping and sodomizing her (all the while leaving behind no DNA evidence whatsoever and carefully addressing each other by fake names so she wouldn’t find out who they were), I offer this transcript (courtesy of La Shawn Barber) of ABC News’s commentary on a series of time-dated photos taken by a Duke student who happened to be at the party (ABC says the photo times were corroborated by the times on a student’s watch that happened to be photographed):

“11:02 p.m.: The first picture shows at least 10 students hanging out in a living room, apparently waiting for the dancers to arrive. Most of the students appear to be drinking. By the number of people in this photo, it appears only a fraction of the 47 lacrosse team members are there.

“12 a.m.: This is the first picture of the strippers. Students are watching the show, but not grabbing or attempting to touch the women. Bruises are clearly visible on the legs and thighs of the alleged victim.

“12:00:40 a.m.: Another picture taken 40 seconds later shows bruises on the accuser’s knees. Her right knee appears to have an open cut.

“12:03:57 p.m.: About four minutes after arriving, a picture shows the strippers leaving the room. The photo clearly shows that the alleged victim left behind one of her shoes.

“Between 12:10 a.m. and 12:30 a.m.: No photos were taken between this time.

“12:30:12 a.m.: The next photo shows the alleged victim on the back porch, carrying what appears to be her purse and a makeup bag. Her clothes are intact.

“12:30:47 a.m.: A photo taken 30 seconds later shows the alleged victim on the porch and she appears to smile.

“12:31:26 a.m.: But 30 seconds after that, a photo shows the alleged victim stumbling down the back steps of the house.

“12:37:58 a.m.: A series of photos are taken, all showing the woman lying on her left side on the back porch, seemingly passed out or asleep. She had visible cuts on her legs and buttocks that did not appear in the previous photos.

“The cuts may be from falling. The cuts on her buttocks line up with the edge of a screen door she may have hit on the way down.

“12:41 a.m.: The final photo shows the accuser and the second dancer in a black car. The accuser is in the passengers seat.

“Many of the photos taken on the back porch show pink splotches, which the defense says is undried nail polish. They claim the accuser was polishing her nails in the bathroom between 12:10 a.m. and 12:30 a.m. – – not being raped.”

Yes, the alleged victim could well have been raped and beaten that night. But after reading the above, do any of you actually think those crimes occurred at the Duke party house?