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Dancer alleged rape 10 years ago

CREEDMOOR, N.C.-The exotic dancer who brought allegations of gang rape against three members of the Duke men's lacrosse team made similar accusations ten years ago, officials confirmed Friday.

On August 18, 1996, the dancer-then 18 years old-told a police officer in Creedmoor, N.C., that she had been raped by three men in June 1993, according to a police document. The victim's father contradicted her account Thursday, telling the Raleigh News & Observer that no sexual assault occurred.

"This is absolutely stunning... insofar as this appears to be a false and fabricated allegation," said defense attorney Robert Ekstrand, who is representing a number of the lacrosse players. "This prosecution needs to end soon, and it has lost all credibility."

But District Attorney Mike Nifong said the case is not yet dead.

"All the facts are not yet known, and many of the so-called 'facts' that have been reported and commented on are simply wrong," Nifong wrote in a statement Friday.

Relatives have hinted to the media that the exotic dancer has considered dropping the current case-a move that would echo her decision not to pursue the 1996 accusations.

After an initial meeting with police 10 years ago, the alleged victim did not pursue the case against the men who allegedly raped her in 1993.

The officer who took the woman's report ten years ago asked her to write a detailed chronological account of the night's events, and to bring the timeline back to the police station.

"Apparently she never returned," Granville County District Attorney Sam Currin said.

Creedmoor Police Chief Ted Pollard said that although he was police chief at the time of the allegations, they were never brought to his attention.

"If the accused elected not to pursue the case, that's the end of it," Pollard added.

The case was never referred to the district attorney's office, he said at a press conference outside Creedmoor City Hall Friday.

"We've got no record of this," said Assistant District Attorney Cindy Bostic, who was with the DA's office at the time of the first accusations. "But that's not atypical. If charges weren't filed, we're not going to have a record of it."

Bostic called the report "vague," saying that a request for a chronological statement is typical in cases in which police need more information.

Pollard was alerted to the existence of previous rape allegations by an Associated Press reporter who contacted him Thursday evening. Friday morning, his staff hand-searched through years of paper files for the police report.

Nifong said rape shield laws will prevent the previous allegations from being aired in the courtroom, but defense attorneys asserted their right to use the 1996 case to try and impeach the accuser.

"This is not evidence of prior sexual activity as the rape shield statute contemplates," Ekstrand said. "Instead it is evidence of her relationship with the truth."

The North Carolina Rape Shield Statute states that "sexual behavior of the complainant" is generally inadmissible, with the exception of "evidence of a pattern of sexual behavior so distinctive and so closely resembling the defendant's version of the enocounter as to tend to prove consent."

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