I have thought for some time that the Duke students accused of raping that exotic dancer (read stripper) didn't do it. I wish I had time to blog about it earlier, so I could have looked like a visionary and all that. Now that the DNA tests have come back negative a lot of people are beginning to reach this conclusion.
Why do I think nothing happened? Two reasons, really.
First, the defense lawyers were predicting days ago that the DNA results would exonerate their clients. Now, the first rule of defense lawyering is to keep your mouth shut until you see the government's evidence, so you can construct a defense around it (actually, that is the second rule of defense lawyering, the first rule is to make sure you get paid). Because if you start talking too early, you foreclose potential defenses, and when the DNA comes back positive it is a little late to say it was consensual sex.
So, why were the defense lawyers talking? The only answer is that they had to be absolutely convinced that no sexual contact of any type took place. You can be sure that they all leaned on their clients hard for the straight story and they, at least, were convinced.
But how do we know that Duke kids told their defense lawyers the truth? That gets into the second reason why I am pretty certain that the rape never happened, which is the basic unreality of the situation. There were 40+ people crammed into that not very big house, and if a violently protesting girl was dragged into a bathroom by three men and violently assaulted over a period of time, you can be pretty sure everyone would have some idea that something odd was going on.
Now, I know that the net is full of stories about how these tight knit lacrosse teams stick together. But we are talking about upper class kids from good families. You might be able to expect them to keep the faith about stuff like drugs and underage drinking, but rape and kidnapping are serious crimes going way beyond the "boys-will-be-boys" stuff.
And with this many witnesses and this level of scrutiny from the authorities, I wouldn't care if they were all "made men" from the Cosa Nostra. Prosecutors learn early that the way to break down criminal conspiracies is to offer a sweet deal to whoever is the first to rat the others out. Even with hardened crooks, someone usually takes the deal. And here you have 40 witnesses that are looking forward to careers as stock brokers and stuff, and none of them want to spend the next ten years being somebody's girlfriend in the state pen. If there was a story to tell somebody would have told it.
So, I think the accusation is based on a hoax, and it will be loads of fun to watch it unravel. (Do I feel sorry for the Duke students, being hounded about a crime they didn't commit? Not really, they brought a lot of this on themselves, and maybe they will learn a lesson or two).