DURHAM, N.C. – Hours after an exotic dancer was allegedly raped by members of the Duke University lacrosse team, a player apparently sent an e-mail saying he wanted to invite more strippers to his dorm room, kill them and skin them. It was not clear whether the message was serious or a joke.
Investigators did not return calls seeking comment about the nature of the e-mail. But a lawyer for the player who purportedly wrote it said the content suggests his client is innocent.
"While the language of the e-mail is vile, the e-mail itself is perfectly consistent with the boys' unequivocal assertion that no sexual assault took place that evening," said attorney Robert Ekstrand. The e-mail "demonstrates that its writer is completely unaware that any act or event remotely similar to what has been alleged ever occurred."
No charges have been filed in the case, which has roiled the campus and the community and led the school to suspend the lacrosse team from play.
The e-mail, according to an application for a search warrant of the player's dorm room, was sent from his Duke e-mail account just before 2 a.m. on March 14. Police said investigators received a copy from a confidential source, though they later won a court order seeking access to the account.
In the e-mail, addressed "To whom it may concern," the player says he has "decided to have some strippers over" to his dorm room, "however there will be no nudity."
"I plan on killing the bitches as soon as the walk in and proceeding to cut their skin off," the author of the e-mail says, adding in vulgar terms that he would find the act sexually satisfying.
The e-mail was signed with what police said is the player's jersey number.
The warrant for the player's room was made public on Wednesday. In it, police provide a detailed timeline of the alleged attack and some additional details of their investigation. The warrant also adds conspiracy to commit murder as one of the crimes police are investigating.
The dancer, a student at a nearby university, has told police she was raped at the party by three men who restrained and choked her in a bathroom.
Investigators have collected DNA from 46 of the 47 team members. The team's lone black member did not provide a sample because the dancer, who is black, said her attackers were white. A spokeswoman for the state attorney general's office said Wednesday the analysis has not been completed.
The lacrosse team's co-captains have denied that anyone was sexually assaulted at the party, as have attorneys for the players.
According to the warrant, the alleged victim told police she believes the players used false names and falsely claimed to be members of Duke's baseball and track teams. A team captain and resident of the house where the party took place told police he used an alias when hiring the dancers at the party, the warrant states.
District Attorney Mike Nifong has said that he is "pretty confident that a rape occurred," but that he does not expect to file charges until next week.