Posted on November 8, 2006

Accuser in Duke Lacrosse Case Wanted Money, Man Says

Joseph Neff, Benjamin Niolet and Anne Blythe, News and Observer (Raleigh), Nov. 4, 2006

Four days after she said she was raped, the accuser in the Duke lacrosse case told co-workers at a Hillsborough strip club that she was going to get money from some boys at a Duke party who hadn’t paid her, the club’s former security manager said.

“She basically said, ‘I’m going to get paid by the white boys,’ “ H.P. Thomas, the former security manager at the Platinum Club, said in an interview Friday. “I said, ‘Whatever,’ because no one takes her seriously.”

On March 14, the woman said she was assaulted and raped by three men at a lacrosse team party that began late on the night of March 13. Three players — David Evans, 23, of Bethesda, Md.; Collin Finnerty, 20, of Garden City, N.Y.; and Reade Seligmann, 20, of Essex Fells N.J. — have been charged with rape, sexual assault and kidnapping. All three have declared their innocence and called the accusations lies.

Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong declined to comment on Thomas’ recollections. Thomas said he had not previously come forward on the advice of lawyers.

Nifong has said in court that nearly a month after the party, the woman was in his office and appeared too traumatized to talk about what had happened to her. Nifong said that throughout the April 11 meeting with Nifong and police investigators, the woman seemed near tears and had trouble making eye contact.

But less than a week after the party, Thomas said, the woman seemed fine, and weeks later, he realized a friend of his had a video of her dancing at the club in the early hours of March 26.

The accuser never gave any indication that the party was a bad time, let alone that she was assaulted or raped, Thomas said.

“She was as regular as pie,” Thomas said. “She didn’t do anything different.”

The News & Observer generally does not identify the complainants in sexual assault cases. The woman could not be located for comment Friday.