Thursday, March 30, 2006

There Is No Justice Like Mob Justice

The court of public opinion at Duke University has spoken and all but one member of the school's lacrosse team has been convicted of sexually assaulting a stripper during a raucous, alcohol fueled off-campus party.

According to ESPN, about 40 members of the Duke lacrosse teamed held a wild party last week. The general story has it that they hired two strippers to perform, one of which, stated that she was sexually assaulted by several white members of the team. The woman is black.

The Durham, N.C. police are investigating but no charges have been filed. If found guilty then the legal system will take its course and the crimminals will be punished.

But why wait? The allegation itself was enough to cause the school's administration to suspend the team's season. Campus protests have been held and photos of the entire lacrosse team have been posted on web sites, essentially blaming them all for the incident. The ESPN story states that 45 of 46 team members had to give a DNA sample, the team's lone black player was excused.

It would seem most, but not all, of the team was at the party, but that has not stopped campus activists from stamping "convicted" across the whole lot. This is hardly fair to those who were not in attendance nor those who were, but were not involved in whatever happened. If it even took place.

In addition to the sexual assault aspect to the case, racism is playing a role. The complaintant said the attackers were white and used racial slurs during the attack. According to printed reports, many people on campus say there is a class situation, think Kennedy family, that is now frantically working to protect the "guilty" players.

Whatever happened to due process? Are the players not innocent until proven guilty? Should they be ostrasized in the court of public opinion even before a police investigation is completed?

What has taken place so far is a travesty of justice. If these guys are proven innocent I hope they take the school and the various campus groups that have villified them to court. If a crime did take place then no punishment is harsh enough.


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