Two Duke University lacrosse players were arrested on rape charges Tuesday in a scandal that has rocked one of America's elite campuses and raised explosive questions of race, class and the privileged status of college athletes.
The two players were promptly booked and released on bail. District Attorney Mike Nifong said a third player could also be arrested but has yet to be firmly identified.
"It had been my hope to charge all three of the assailants at the same time, but the evidence available to me at this moment does not permit that," District Attorney Mike Nifong said. "Investigation into the identity of the third assailant will continue in the hope that he can also be identified with certainty."
Reade Seligmann and Collin Finnerty, both sophomores, turned themselves in to Durham police more than five weeks after rape allegations first surfaced, CBS News correspondent Trish Regan reports. The two were charged a little more than a month after a stripper told police she was raped at a party thrown by the lacrosse team.
Regan says sources tell her these charges stacked together mean that they could be facing a de facto life sentence.
The indictments, unsealed Tuesday, did not indicate what possible evidence or arguments led the grand jury on Monday to charge Reade Seligmann and Collin Finnerty.
Col. George Naylor of the Durham County jail said the players' bond was set at $400,000. Seligmann had already posted his $400,000 bond by 7:30 a.m. and Finnerty also posted bond. Finnerty made an initial court appearance Tuesday, while Seligmann waived his appearance in court. They are both expected in court next May 15.
Seligmann is 6-foot-1 sophomore from Essex Fells, N.J. Finnerty is a 6-foot-3 sophomore from Garden City, N.Y. Earlier, they were led out of separate police cruisers in handcuffs. One was wearing a suit jacket, the other was in dress shirt and jeans.
Both suspects grew up in privileged surroundings in the suburbs of New York City, a world of golf courses and multimillion-dollar homes. Each was educated at an exclusive all-boys Catholic prep school. Their paths merged after the high school lacrosse stars won admission to Duke University, and continued their athletic and academic careers.
Defenders quickly came forward at both of their high schools. Finnerty, 19, was described as a good student and athlete who was never in any trouble, while 20-year-old Seligmann was remembered as a kid incapable of committing such a heinous act.
"Knowing Reade Seligmann as well as we do here at Delbarton, I believe him innocent of the charges," said the Rev. Luke L. Travers, headmaster at Seligmann's $22,500-a-year high school. "The hearts and prayers of our community go out to Reade and his family, the woman who made the accusations, the players on the Duke lacrosse team and all their families."
At Chaminade High School in Mineola, N.Y., where Finnerty was among the 1,600 students, his former lacrosse coach said the young man "really was never in any trouble. Basically, more of a quiet kid."
Seligmann is "absolutely innocent," said his attorney, Kirk Osborn. "He's doing great. That's all I have to say."
Sources tell CBS News that the defense already has evidence that they plan to use to illustrate the suspects' innocence, including cell phone records, taxi dispatch logs and ATM receipts.
Seligmann's attorneys claim the eivdence will show that he was not even in the house at the time of the alleged rape, Regan reports.
A 27-year-old black woman told police she was attacked March 13 by three white men in a bathroom at a party held by the lacrosse team.
The racially charged allegations have led to near-daily protest rallies. The school canceled the highly ranked team's season and accepted the resignation of coach Mike Pressler after the release of a vulgar and graphic e-mail that was sent by a team member shortly after the alleged assault.
The arrests come a day after a grand jury issued sealed indictments in the case of an alleged rape. The next session of the grand jury is scheduled to be held in two weeks.
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