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Duke Players on Bail; Lawyer Refutes Charges

Two members of Duke's lacrosse team are free on bond after being arrested on charges of kidnapping and rape. The charges stem from a team party last month at a house near the university's Durham, N.C., campus. Prosecutors say the players sexually assaulted a woman who was hired to perform at the party as an exotic dancer. Lawyers for the players say the charges are false.

The two suspects, both 20, are college sophomores, gifted athletes who attended exclusive prep schools. Now they face possible life terms in prison. Reade Seligmann of Essex Fells, N.J., and Collin Finnerty of Garden City, N.Y., face first-degree charges of forcible rape, sexual offense, and kidnapping.

Arrested early Tuesday, Seligmann and Finnerty were released on a $400,000 bond. After a brief hearing, Kirk Osborne, Seligmann's attorney called the charges "a miscarriage of justice."

The arrests follow a monthlong investigation into what happened at a lacrosse team party during spring break. A 27-year-old woman, hired to entertain as an exotic dancer, told police that several players sexually assaulted her in a bathroom. The suspects are white; the woman is black. And for many people in Durham, the case has racial overtones.

A hospital exam conducted after the party concluded that the woman had been sexually assaulted, but DNA tests later failed to find a match between the players and samples taken from her body. Prosecutors say it's not unusual for genetic tests to come back negative, and that they have other evidence a crime occurred. The district attorney's office is also pursuing additional indictments for a possible third assailant.

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Adam Hochberg
Based in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Adam Hochberg reports on a broad range of issues in the Southeast. Since he joined NPR in 1995, Hochberg has traveled the region extensively, reporting on its changing economy, demographics, culture and politics. He also currently focuses on transportation. Hochberg covered the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, followed candidates in three Presidential elections and reported on more than a dozen hurricanes.