RALEIGH, N.C. – A 27-year-old who alleged she was sexually assaulted by three Duke University lacrosse players has given birth to a baby girl, according to local news reports.
WRAL in Durham reported that the accuser gave birth at UNC Hospitals on Wednesday. Sources told the news station the child was born via Cesarean section.
A judge last month ordered a paternity test for the newborn, which wasn't due until February, although prosecutors and defense attorneys have said the child was not fathered by any of the players.
Numerous family members of the accuser had told FOX News last month that she was pregnant. Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong had confirmed that, saying that because she wasn't due until February, there was no way she was impregnated by any of the lacrosse players she claimed had raped her in March.
In December, rape charges were dropped against three men indicted in the case — 23-year-old David Evans, 20-year-old Collin Finnerty and 20-year-old Reade Seligmann. They still face kidnapping and sexual offense charges.
At the time of the alleged incident, the woman, a divorced mother of two, had worked for an escort service to help support her children and to pay for classes at North Carolina Central University.
On Wednesday, Duke officials said they had invited the Finnerty and Seligmann to return for spring semester starting next week; Evans graduated last May a day before he was charged.
The university barred Finnerty and Seligmann from class last semester while they faced charges of raping the stripper at an off-campus team party last March. They were also suspended from the lacrosse team.
But now, as the case against the players takes hit after hit, Duke officials said Wednesday that they have invited them to return for spring semester starting next week.
"We feel that this is a very important moment," said Finnerty's lawyer, Wade Smith. "This announcement speaks to Duke's integrity as an institution, to its mission, and to its belief in Collin Finnerty's innocence."
The Seligmann family said the invitation demonstrates the case is groundless.
"By now it should be plain to any person who has any objectivity that the charges against Reade are transparently false," the family said in a statement Wednesday.
Finnerty and Seligmann haven't decided whether they will return, their lawyers said.
They are still charged with sexual assault and kidnapping, and the university could punish them if they are convicted of any of the charges, Larry Moneta, Duke's vice president for student affairs, said in a letter to Duke's president.
However, university officials made it clear that their estimation of the prosecution's case has changed.
"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," Moneta said in a letter to Seligmann and Finnerty Tuesday.
"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."
The university was swept up in a tide of publicity, outrage and shock last spring when a black woman who attended nearby North Carolina Central University alleged she had been raped at the party.
Rape charges against Finnerty, Seligmann and co-defendant Evans were dropped last month, after the woman wavered on some key details.
The men are not expected to go to trial before the spring.
Since leaving Duke, Finnerty has volunteered to work with children who lost family in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 and has taken courses at Hofstra University near his home in Garden City, N.Y., his attorney said.
The next step in the case is a hearing scheduled for Feb. 5, when defense attorneys are expected to attack the results of a photo lineup in which the accuser identified the players. Without her identification, experts said, District Attorney Mike Nifong might have to drop the other charges.
Nifong did not return a call Wednesday.
Nifong dropped the rape charges after the accuser said she was no longer certain she had been penetrated vaginally by a penis, a necessary element of rape charges in North Carolina.
Seligmann, Finnerty and Evans have maintained their innocence, with Evans calling the charges "fantastic lies" the day he was indicted in May. Their lawyers have called on Nifong to drop the remaining charges.
The case led to the resignation of longtime coach Mike Pressler and the university's decision to cancel the remainder of the season for the highly ranked lacrosse team.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.