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Police: Accuser didn't pursue prior rape report

Officials say no action was taken after report 10 years ago


Duke University
Sex Crimes

CREEDMOOR, North Carolina (CNN) -- Police said Friday they did not pursue prior rape allegations by the woman at the center of the Duke University rape case because she apparently did not provide the additional details they requested.

Ted Pollard, the police chief in Creedmoor, North Carolina, said the woman filed a report 10 years ago, when she was 17, alleging three men raped her when she was 14 years old.

But, he added, the woman apparently never followed up on an officer's request for a detailed chronology.

"If the accuser decides not to pursue the case, that's the end of it," Pollard told reporters. (Watch the chief explain why charges weren't filed -- 1:58)

Last month, the woman accused three Duke University lacrosse players of raping her at a team party. Two players, sophomores Reade Seligmann and Collin Finnerty, have been charged with rape and kidnapping.

Their attorneys say the players are innocent and legal observers say the lawyers can be expected to pounce on the report in an effort to cast doubt on the current allegations.

But Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong said North Carolina has a rape shield law that makes an accuser's past conduct "irrelevant" except under very narrow circumstances.

An accuser's sexual history, said Nifong, can be presented only after a separate hearing to determine its relevance. As a result, he said, if the Duke case goes to trial, the jury "may or may not" hear about the Creedmoor report.

The police department in Creedmoor -- a community northeast of Durham -- released the report with the names of the three alleged assailants inked out.

According to the August 18, 1996, report, the woman told the responding officer that "three years ago, at an unspecified location on Hillsboro Street, three subjects raped and beat her when she was 14 years old."

The woman identified her attackers as black males, giving police names and addresses.

The police officer who interviewed the woman advised her to "write a chronological-order statement of the incidents and occurrences that had taken place and return the statement for investigative purposes," the report states.

The report concludes: "No further information."

Pollard said there is no indication that the three men cited in the report were ever interviewed. (Watch what happened to that earlier case -- 2:32)

The officer who took the report no longer works for the department, Pollard said.

Officials in Granville County, which includes Creedmoor, say none of the men named in the woman's police report was charged in the county with sexual assault.

Pollard said police located the initial report detailing the woman's allegations after a reporter asked about it. But, he added, "The case was never pursued."

Pollard said the chronology requested by the officer is not in the department's files. He added he does not know whether the woman ever gave it to police.

The case was not brought to his attention and the district attorney at that time has no recollection of it, Pollard said.

The woman, now 27, alleges that she was pulled into a bathroom on March 14 and raped by three Duke lacrosse players during a team party at an off-campus house rented by three team members.

Seligmann and Finnerty have been charged with rape, kidnapping and sexual assault. They are free on bail and Duke officials have suspended them pending an investigation.

Their attorneys say they have evidence showing their clients weren't at the party when the attack is alleged to have taken place.

Creedmoor Mayor Darryl Moss said the Durham Police Department had contacted Creedmoor police about the report but no discussions have taken place.

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