OK–more on the alleged but evidence-free Duke lacrosse team rape of a stripper on March 14 (click here to catch up), this time from reader Beth:

“When you say that the grocery store security guard says that the alleged victim had not been raped, are you trying to imply that a rape or sexual assault occurred between the time she was in the grocery store parking lot and when she arrived at the hospital? The hospital rape examiner said her injuries and demeanor were consistent with sexual assault. If there were no injuries in the grocery store parking lot, how did they get there by the time she was at the hospital?

“Concerning the lack of evidence in the bathroom – wasn’t it almost two days between the alleged assault and when the police searched the bathroom? Are you saying the lack of evidence (although there actually was some evidence in the bathroom – DNA of two people on a towel) means nothing happened? You are saying there is no chance someone cleaned up in there? There is no chance the fake nails left in there could have been washed of DNA? Were all the men checked for scratches the day after the alleged rape? What was the result of the examination of all the men? Usually in a rape case if they have a suspect soon after the alleged event they check him for injuries.

“The alleged victim was ‘passed-out drunk’ in the grocery store parking lot, and according to the other stripper, they were both offered drinks at the party. The other stripper did not drink anything, but the alleged victim did, and according to the other stripper, within minutes the alleged victim became glassy-eyed and started stumbling. What do you think this means? Could she have been drugged? Would that explain why she appeared to be ‘passed-out drunk’ in the parking lot?

“What kind of 19-20-year-old men have K-Y jelly in their home? What do you think they needed that for? Why are the ‘girlfriends’ of lacrosse players at Duke called lacrosstitutes? What do you think that means? What kind of young man taunts a stranger by calling him gay and then crosses a street to punch him repeatedly? What kind of character do you think he has? Why did Duke warn the lacrosse coach of the unacceptable nature of his team’s behavior a year prior to the sex party?”

First, Beth, read this fair and thoroughly reported Newsweek story (thanks, La Shawn Barber). The reason the security guard said that it didn’t appear to her that the victim had been raped was because her clothes didn’t look disheveled and she was in no particular state of anxiety. Instead, she was apparently passed out in the back of a car. Hey, maybe she really was drugged with a “date-rape” drug (although there is no evidence whatsoever that any such a drug was even present in the house, much less administered to her). But aren’t date-rape drugs designed to induce compliance in a date-rape? Doesn’t that contradict the victim’s statement that she scratched and clawed at her assailants as she resisted, not complied? Same with the fake nails. Either she lost those nails fighting the rape (which would have resulted in DNA evidence) or she didn’t. But is she didn’t why did she tell the police she did? Again, you can’t have it both ways. And wasn’t it a little dumb for the guys to scour the entire bathroom, including the false nails, of DNA, while leaving DNA-soaked towels just lying around? Remember that the second stripper has already changed her story numerous times, has been caught lying about the incident,  has attempted to market her yarn for dollars though a PR firm, and has a conviction for embezzlement, a crime of dishonesty that can be used at trial to cast serious doubt on her veracity.

Yes, the victim had injuries indicating that something untoward happened to her that night: rape, rough sex, a beating, something. The trouble is, it’s highly unlikely, given the state of the evidence, that it happened at that party. And there is even less evidence that either of the two arrested lacrosse players, Colin Finnerty or Reade Seligmann, did the deeds. The timed photos don’t even place Finnerty at the party, and Seligmann has cell-phone and taxi records showing that he was either on the phone, in a cab, or both, during the 20-minute interval when the alleged rape occurred. Hey, maybe he was literally having phone sex! And remember that Finerty and Seligmann were arrested on the basis of a legally laughable photo-lineup in which the victim was shown pictures only of members of the Duke lacrosse team. Wait until the prosecution tries to introduce that into evidence?

As for your last paragraph, Beth, you raise issues of character. No, I don’t think that 19- and 20-year-old college students should be fooling around with sex-enhancers, treating their girlfriends like hos, flinging racist epithets at African-American women, or taunting gays on the street. Or inviting strippers to their drunken parties, or sending nasty e-mails. I believe that both the Duke lacrosse team and its coach were properly disciplined for enabling and indulging in highly ungentlemanly conduct unworthy of athletes who have the honor of wearing the Duke jersey. (Do read Anne Coulter and Naomi Schaeffer Riley on the subject).

These deplorable excrescenses, however, if you have read Tom Wolfe’s “I Am Charlotte Simmons,” are an all-too-common feature of campus life at our nation’s elite universities. Indeed, don’t campus women’s studies professors actively encourage young women to be “transgressive”—i.e. dress and behave like, uh, lacrosstitutes? Don’t Eve Ensler and her “Vagina” sisters argue that stripping for a living, or even hooking for a living,  is woman-empowering “sex work”? Isn’t sexual liberation supposed to be a wonderful thing for young women, according to femnist dogma? Remember all the pooh-poohing from Elaine Showalter and others when Wolfe’s novel came out last year? So, right, the Duke lacrosse team deserves a bucketful of censure for conduct unbecoming gentlemen. But Finnerty and Reade weren’t arrested for conduct unbecoming gentlemen. They were arrested for rape, a felony whose penalty is many years in prison, not getting suspended from the team for a semester. Either a rape occurred at the Duke party house, or it didn’t.

Sure, if you’re a good liberal like fatuous Slate “legal analyst” Dahlia Lithwick, you can kind of pretend that the evidence is equally distributed on both sides:         

“And what about all this physical evidence? That unambiguous, objective scientific evidence? Supporters of the Duke students say the lack of a DNA match exonerates them. Peter Neufeld of the Innocence Project says, ‘There’s an old saying that the absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence.’ Nurses say the injuries are consistent with rape. The boys say someone else raped her. Time-stamped photos suggest that the alleged victim was injured before she arrived at the party. Other photos suggest new injuries occurred while she was there. Lost fake fingernails in the bathroom suggest a fight. The lack of any DNA material under those nails suggests she never fought back. Photos say she was intoxicated upon arrival. The second stripper implies she was drugged at the party.”

Hey, Dahlia, you went to Stanford law school, as you never cease to remind us. “The absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence” sounds catchy, but doncha remember from your, uh, evidence class that it takes, uh, evidence, to convict someone of a crime in court? And that the burden of proof is on the prosecution, not the defense? And that the standard of proof in a criminal case isn’t “Quien sabe? Hey maybe there was a rape!” but “beyond a reasonable doubt”?

On this one, I’m voting with La Shawn:

“The emerging images pop right out at you: two strippers start dancing, the players get rowdy, the strippers get angry and start to leave, the players get angry and call them names as they head out, one of the strippers returns the taunts, the drunk accuser-stripper goes back in to retrieve her shoe (but may not have found it), second stripper is angry at the players and the drunk stripper, calls 911 to report name-calling, has someone else call 911 to report drunk woman in her car, cop arrives and sees drunk woman passed out, drunk woman is taken to a “substance abuse” center, realizes she may be in big trouble because of her past drunken criminal behavior (leading police on a car chase and trying to run down an officer), claims rape, is sent to hospital where exam reveals injuries “consistent” with rape, points the finger at three men at the party, media and black ‘leaders’ go crazy and play up race angle, DA – in a fight for political survival – takes the race bait and vilifies 46 men, some of whom weren’t at the party, tests all but the black player, and despite no evidence charges two men with rape.”

And don’t miss this column by Ann Coulter:

“However the Duke lacrosse rape case turns out, one lesson that absolutely will not be learned is this: You can severely reduce your chances of having a false accusation of rape leveled against you if you don’t hire strange women to come to your house and take their clothes off for money.

“Also, you can severely reduce your chances of being raped if you do not go to strange men’s houses and take your clothes off for money. (Does anyone else detect a common thread here?)
“Whenever a gun is used in a crime, there are never-ending news stories about how dangerous guns are. But these girls go out alone, late at night, drunk off their butts, and there’s nary a peep about the dangers of drunk women on their own in public. It’s their ‘right.'”