Agent says memoir not defamatory

The agent for Duke lacrosse accuser Crystal Mangum said that although Mangum maintains in her book that she was sexually assaulted at a March 2006 party, she is not specifically accusing any lacrosse players or any individuals related to the University for the alleged crime.

"We are asserting that any allegations of slander are untrue," Vincent Clark, who also co-authored Mangum's memoir "The Last Dance for Grace," wrote in an e-mail. "The book is simply Ms. Mangum's one and only opportunity to discuss her recollections of that night and to discuss what went on in her private life before and after the party. Nobody should construe that this book is about them."

But Philip Seligmann, father of wrongly indicted lacrosse player Reade Seligmann, threatened in a statement Thursday to pursue legal action if Mangum and her publishers "continue to slander Reade."

The Chronicle incorrectly reported Monday that Mangum maintains she was sexually assaulted by three lacrosse players.

Clark, who runs fire! Films and Books and published the book, emphasized that he and Mangum agree with Attorney General Roy Cooper's decision to drop charges in April 2007 because of insufficient evidence and compelling alibis. But he said Mangum nonetheless has a right to assert that she was violated.

"We are not calling for anything other than an acknowledgment that Crystal was mistreated and misrepresented in the portrayals by many people. There is not one culprit," Clark said.

Seligmann's attorney Jim Cooney wrote in an e-mail Tuesday that the Seligmann family is continuing to evaluate their options for legal action.

In the memoir, released Friday, Mangum describes in graphic detail being raped by three people at the party, which was hosted by then-captains of the men's lacrosse team and attended by about 40 people.

Mangum writes that she "felt as though I was being penetrated" by a first attacker twice. She alleges that a second attacker penetrated her, and a third attacker penetrated her after being at first hesitant because he said he had a fiancee.

In describing the assault by the third attacker, Mangum writes that she believes she may have been penetrated by a foreign object as well, and that she thought she was "going to die there." She writes that the second attacker then penetrated her again, this time "anally and painfully."

Mangum told investigators throughout 2006 that she was also forced to perform oral sex, but she does not describe any oral sexual assault in the memoir.

Seligmann, Colin Finnerty and David Evans, Trinity '06, former members of the men's lacrosse team, were indicted in the case but were declared innocent in April 2007 when all charges against them were dropped.

Defense attorneys for the wrongly indicted players have accused Mangum of changing her story multiple times during the investigation, though Mangum writes in the book that her account of events never changed. Attorneys said Mangum told investigators in April 2006 that she was "100-percent sure" Seligmann had sexually assaulted her orally, but she said in December 2006 that Seligmann did not assault her at all.

Tests showed no matches between DNA from members of the lacrosse team and samples taken from Mangum, defense lawyers said in April 2006.

But in the memoir, Mangum says she believes there may be DNA tests that tell a "different story," and calls for sealed files in the case to be released in order to restore her reputation.

"Since there is no chance that a criminal case will go to trial in this matter, I am calling for Attorney General Roy Cooper to release all of the records to the public," she writes.

Several lawsuits have followed from the case, filed by the three wrongly indicted players, three unindicted players and 38 unindicted players. None of the suits target Mangum; Evans' attorney Joe Cheshire told WRAL in August that the three wrongly indicted players felt Mangum had been somewhat victimized by the proceedings and decided not to pursue criminal charges against her.

Clark said Mangum's story is relevant to the proceedings of these ongoing suits.

"The civil cases working through the courts will be heard at some point. People can't have it both ways. We can't be asked to consider the merits of the case based only on one point of view," he said.


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