Duke Invites Charged Players Back to School

Duke University has asked Reade Seligman and Collin Finnerty, charged with sexual assault, to return to Duke.

This is a stunning turnaround, since they are still charged with felonies. From Duke's letter to the boys and its public statement:

As circumstances have evolved in this extraordinary case, we have attempted to balance recognition of the gravity of legal charges with the presumption of your innocence," Duke officials wrote to the Seligmann family in a letter obtained by ABC News Law & Justice Unit.

"Now with the approach of a new term, we believe that circumstances warrant that we strike this balance differently. At this point, continued extension of the administrative leave would do unwarranted harm to your educational progress. We decided…to lift the administrative leave," the letter states.

"We have decided that the right and fair thing to do is to welcome back Reade Seligmann and Collin Finnerty to resume their studies at Duke for the spring semester,"

TalkLeft reported this on the Duke Forums Monday night, having received the tip from reporter Cash Michaels. (Thanks, Cash.)

Reade Seligman's family released this statement:

The Seligmann family issued a statement thanking Brodhead for his recent comments about the case. "We are also glad that Duke University has now made it clear that Reade is welcome to return to the University and look forward to the day that he can return to living a normal life and continuing his education as a full-time student," the statement said.

"By now it should be plain to any person who has any objectivity that the charges against Reade are transparently false," the statement continued. "Reade is absolutely innocent and we will continue to fight this injustice. We are not going to rest until Reade's good name has been cleared and those who have been responsible for this injustice have been held fully accountable."

Collin Finnerty's lawyer had this to say:

This announcement speaks to Duke's integrity as an institution, to its mission and to its belief in Collin Finnerty's innocence and that makes us very glad."

The third charged student, David Evans, already has graduated.

Let the lawsuits begin. This case has been a textbook example of prosecutorial misconduct, over-reaching and unfairness.

You can comment here, or over at the TalkLeft Duke Forums where a lively discussion is taking place.

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    I think Duke has seen which way this is going (none / 0) (#1)
    by scribe on Wed Jan 03, 2007 at 03:21:27 PM EST
    to play out, and moved accordingly.

    I hope Durham and N.C. have put a line item in their respective budgets for damages (beyond those few covered by insurance).

    Would that justice be so fair. (none / 0) (#2)
    by Bill Arnett on Wed Jan 03, 2007 at 03:22:43 PM EST

    It did work..... (none / 0) (#4)
    by kdog on Wed Jan 03, 2007 at 06:20:07 PM EST
    but having high-priced uber-lawyers sure helps.  

    Without cash it doesn't work nearly as well.

    Just saying...less fortunate men may have been locked up or on probation by now.  

    May we all remember the need for due process, equality under the law, and "innocent until proven guilty".    

    Exactly kdog... (none / 0) (#6)
    by Slado on Thu Jan 04, 2007 at 09:03:15 AM EST
    If i was a member of the black community that had cheered for Nilfong when he brought these charges the thing that I would be asking myself is how many young black man did he put through the ringer with shoddy evidence?

    Young men who did not have high priced lawyers.   Young men who probably pled to lesser crimes to avoid prosecution because their court appointed attourneys told them it would be better.  Etc...

    I doubt that Nilfong all of the sudden became a prosecuter that tried cases on bad evidence.  More then likely this is his way of doing buisness.

    Sad that it took trying to screw a few rich Dukies to find this guy out.


    And Nifong ain't the only one.... (none / 0) (#7)
    by kdog on Thu Jan 04, 2007 at 09:48:31 AM EST
    I hope every community takes a hard look at their DA's office and how they do business.

    Also sad that it took 2 rich kids getting railroaded to open America's eyes (especially "law and order" type Americans) to the practice of DA railroading.


    Nifong is the most corrupt DA in North Carolina (none / 0) (#8)
    by Mister X on Sun Jan 07, 2007 at 01:36:59 PM EST
    Nifong is a white racist who plays the race card for his own political needs. He deserves to be jailed for a very, very long time.