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Duke Lacrosse Team Sidelined

Duke University's president has suspended the school's highly ranked lacrosse team from play until school administrators learn more about allegations that several team members raped an exotic dancer at an off-campus party.

"In this painful period of uncertainty, it is clear to me, as it was to the players, that it would be inappropriate to resume the normal schedule of play," President Richard Brodhead said Tuesday.

A woman told police she and another dancer were hired to perform March 13 at a private party in an off-campus home. The dancer, a student at North Carolina Central University, told police she was pulled into a bathroom, beaten, choked and raped by three unidentified men.

No one has been charged, but police took DNA samples with a cheek swab from 46 of the lacrosse team's 47 players last week, CBS News correspondent Mark Strassmann reported on The Early Show Wednesday. The 47th player, the only black member of the team, did not have to provide DNA because the dancer said her attackers were white. The dancer is black.

Brodhead said team captains notified Athletic Director Joe Alleva on Tuesday that players wanted to stay off the field until the DNA results came back from a crime lab. In a statement, the captains predicted the DNA testing would clear the players of wrongdoing.

The case has roiled the campus and raised racial tensions. The alleged victim is black, the players white. And neighbors reported hearing at least one player yelling racial slurs, Strassman reports.

"I've seen no evidence of any racial problems with the lacrosse team or frankly, any of our teams," Joe Alleva, Director of Athetics at Duke University.

The allegations also have heightened antagonism between the affluent students at Duke, which costs about $43,000 a year, and the city of Durham, which has a large population of poor people and is about evenly divided between white and black.

Players have denied the allegations, but investigators are convinced the rape happened, and are frustrated by the team's wall of silence, Strassmann reports.


"The circumstances of the rape indicated a deep racial motivation for some of the things that were done," District Attorney Mike Nifong said. "It makes a crime that is by its nature one of the most offensive and invasive even more so."

Nifong said the team members are standing together and refusing to talk with investigators, and he warned he may bring aiding-and-abetting charges against some of the players.

"The silence is what I can't stand. It's the fact that people know information but they're not saying the information. So therefore, they're jeopardizing the safety of everyone else," Morgan McGhee, a Duke University student tells CBS News.

A lawyer representing several lacrosse team members did not immediately return calls Tuesday.

Angry over the team members' silence and the university's handling of the case, Durham residents have demonstrated on and off campus in the past few days. They rallied outside the house where the alleged attack occurred, and gathered outside of Duke Provost Peter Lange's home, where they banged on pots and pans until he emerged to answer questions.

Lange said Monday that he believes "the students would be well-advised to come forward. They have chosen not to."

Durham police echoed his sentiments. "We do know that some of the players inside the house on that evening knew what transpired, and we need them to come forward," David Addison, with the Durham Police Department, said.

The university's athletic director had already forced the team to miss two games because of underage drinking and the hiring of dancers at the party. Duke, considered a national title contender before the season began, has a 6-2 record with five regular-season games to go.

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