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For prosecutor, Duke U. rape case is now more problematic

Lack of DNA evidence in an alleged rape by members of the Duke University lacrosse team may alter the prosecution's options, legal analysts say.

No charges have yet been brought in the case, which has touched off a firestorm of debate about race, class, and power at the elite Southern school. A DNA analysis, made public late Monday, showed no link between any of the 46 lacrosse players who submitted to genetic testing and an African-American woman who says three players sexually assaulted her at a party March 13. A student at North Carolina Central University in Durham, she was hired to be an exotic dancer at the party attended by team members.

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"It's the 'CSI' effect," says Ilse Knecht of the National Center for Victims of Crime in Washington, referring to the popular TV drama about forensics specialists. "More and more, juries are expecting this type of evidence in violent-crime cases, and [not having it] can be damaging to some cases."

The district attorney on the case, Mike Nifong, said Tuesday he will not abandon his investigation. "A lot has been said in the press ... that this case should go away," Mr. Nifong said at a community forum in Durham. "My presence here means that this case is not going away." The woman, he has said, showed injuries consistent with sexual assault.

Defense lawyers for the players say time-stamped photos show the woman was injured before she came to the party.

AP material was used in this report.


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