So now we know who the two Duke lacrosse players are who are accused of raping an exotic dancer.

Reade Seligmann of Essex Fells, New Jersey, and Collin Finnerty of Garden City, New York, have been indicted, arrested, made initial court appearances and paraded before the cameras.

Here's the reality: They are halfway to ruin. They are done as athletes. Their academic career — if they had one — is probably toast, and they are for the foreseeable future accused rapists.

We know who they are and within minutes we'll know all about their families, their years growing up, what their friends think about them and whether they like Cheerios or Wheaties.

We will all make judgments about their guilt or innocence based on stuff we deduce from knowing all these little facts.

Some people are going to say: "Oh, he went to that high school and that's enough for me," or "Oh, he didn't have a job in the summers and that's all I need to know."

You know how people are.

So then there is the matter of the accuser, also known as the alleged rape victim.

The convention in the news business is we don't identify a rape victim, an alleged rape victim. Fine, as far as it goes.

But in this case you've got two young men whose lives will be ruined by the fact they are out in the open as the accused, and the accuser is shrouded in protective secrecy.

Why?

I could find out her name in one phone call. Everybody down there knows her name, but they're not going to tell you — at least not yet — because, as I just told you, we don't identify alleged rape victims. At least for now.

Here's the opening paragraph from a backgrounder on the accuser from newsandobserver.com:

She is a 27-year-old mother of two who married young, served in the Navy and was once in serious trouble because of an episode of drunken driving and assault that left her with a criminal record.

The News & Observer said she may be the nation's best-known unnamed person.

There are more details that will doubtless be the subject of testimony when this case comes to trial, including her marriage, her divorce, her two children by a man she left her husband for, her jobs, including a failed attempt to work as a lap dancer at an establishment called Diamond Girls. She didn't get the job, the owner said, because she was acting "funny."

Bottom line: We know the names and faces of the accused. We are going to know their backgrounds, warts and all.

Shouldn't we know the same information about the accuser?

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