Former Duke lacrosse coach sues school

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - The former Duke University men's lacrosse coach who resigned last year amid allegations that three of his players raped a stripper has sued the university.

Mike Pressler's lawsuit apparently stems from a financial settlement the school reached earlier this year with him, although school officials did not give details Friday. The players were later cleared of the charges.

The Herald-Sun of Durham reported Friday on its Web site that his lawsuit alleges the university broke the terms of the confidential settlement when university senior vice president John Burness made disparaging comments about him.

The newspaper reported that the lawsuit asks the state court to void the settlement and hold a trial on Pressler's claim of wrongful termination.

Duke's vice president and general counsel, Pamela Bernard, said the university was "disappointed that he is now trying to undo that agreement with an unfounded claim against Duke.

"We will address the matter through the legal process and insist on honoring our existing agreement."

Pressler did not return a call seeking comment Friday night, and his agent declined to comment.

Lacrosse players Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty and David Evans were indicted last year on charges of rape, kidnapping and sexual offense, after a stripper told police she was raped at a March 2006 party thrown by the team.

The players were later cleared by state prosecutors, who concluded no crime occurred and found the trio to be the innocent victims of former Durham County prosecutor Mike Nifong.

Nifong was disbarred for his actions in the case. He resigned from office and spent a night in jail after a judge held him criminal contempt of court for his conduct during the case. Pressler now coaches at Division II Bryant in Rhode Island.

In June, the three players reached an undisclosed financial settlement with Duke. Last week, they filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against Nifong, the city of Durham and the police detectives who handled the case, among others.

0 comments: