Second Stripper: Something May Have Happened at Duke Lacrosse Party
DURHAM, N.C. – The second stripper who danced at a Duke University lacrosse team party now says that something more than underage drinking could have happened at the off-campus house where another stripper claims she was raped.
Kim Roberts originally said she doubted the story of her colleague, who told police she was dragged into a bathroom and raped by three white males. But now, apparently upset after defense attorneys released photos of the accuser and leaked information about both dancers' criminal pasts, Roberts says she has to "wonder about their [lacrosse players'] character."
"I was not in the bathroom when it happened, so I can't say a rape occurred — and I never will," Roberts told The Associated Press in an interview. "In all honesty, I think they're guilty … and I can't say which ones are guilty ... but somebody did something besides underage drinking. That's my honest-to-God impression."
Roberts also has solicited the help of a New York public relations firm on "how to spin this to my advantage."
"Although I am no celebrity and just an average citizen, I've found myself in the center of one of the biggest stories in the country," Roberts wrote in an e-mail to 5W Public Relations obtained by FOX News. "I'm worried about letting this opportunity pass me by without making the best of it and was wondering if you had any advice as to how to spin this to my advantage. I am determined not to let any negative publicity about my life overtake me. I'm so confused as to who to talk to for relevant advice and I hope that you can return my e-mail. If you cannot help, do you know of any names and numbers I can call?"
The e-mail is signed, "The 2nd Dancer."
The PR firm released a statement saying it believes Roberts contacted them because of its representation of incarcerated rapper Lil' Kim, of whom Roberts is a fan.
"We have been in discussions with her and are currently evaluating our position on this matter," CEO Ronn Torossian said. "I have been asked why she contacted us — my response: Anyone who is in the firing line of the media should contact a PR firm — the media swarms are very intimidating and scary and people should always contact media experts before speaking with the media."
In another development, authorities released warrants detailing their search earlier this week of Collin Finnerty's and Reade Seligmann's dorm rooms. The two sophomores were indicted Monday on charges of first-degree rape, sexual offense and kidnapping. Police took a newspaper article and an envelope addressed to Finnerty from his room, and an iPod Mini, various accessories, computer manuals, photos and a CD from Seligmann's room.
Finnerty could be facing jail time himself in a separate case. A man says the college student hurled anti-gay slogans at him and physically attacked him in Washington, D.C., last fall. Finnerty will appear before a Washington judge to determine if a previous deal he made to avoid jail time will be upheld or if, based on his latest arrest, he could still face a prison sentence.
A Question of Credibility?
Attorneys for the 46 players have aggressively proclaimed the players' innocence, citing DNA tests during a public campaign that has included describing and releasing photos from the party.
Those photos, the defense maintains, show the accuser was both injured and impaired when she arrived, and also support the claim that one of the two players who has been indicted would not have had enough time to participate in any assault before he left the party. The district attorney has said he also hopes to charge a third suspect in the case.
The attorneys claim Roberts at first told a member of the defense team that she did not believe the accuser's allegations. They say she has changed her story to gain favorable treatment in a criminal case against her.
"We believe ... her story has been motivated by her own self-interest," said attorney Bill Thomas, who represents one of the uncharged players. "I think that a jury will ultimately have to decide the question of her credibility."
Roberts, 31, was arrested on March 22 — eight days after the party — on a probation violation from a 2001 conviction for embezzling $25,000 from a photofinishing company in Durham where she was a payroll specialist, according to documents obtained by the AP.
On Monday, a judge agreed to a change so that Roberts would no longer have to pay a 15 percent fee to a bonding agent. District Attorney Mike Nifong signed a document saying he would not oppose the change.
"It seems she is receiving very favorable financial treatment for what she is now saying," Thomas said.
Mark Simeon, Roberts' attorney, said the bond conditions were changed because she is not considered a flight risk. Nifong didn't return a call seeking comment.
Other than lacrosse players and the accuser, a 27-year-old student at a nearby university, Roberts is believed to be the only other person at the March 13 party.
Roberts said she does not remember Seligmann's face, but said she recalls seeing Finnerty — whom she described as the "little skinny one."
"I was looking him right in the eyes," she said.
Although she would not talk extensively about the party, she confirmed some of what the other dancer told police — including that the women initially left the party after one of the players threatened to sodomize the women with a broomstick.
The players' attorneys have said their clients were angry and demanded a refund when the women stopped dancing, but Roberts disputed that.
"They ripped themselves off when they started hollering about a broomstick," she said.
Roberts: 'I Didn't Do Enough'
The accuser told police that the women were coaxed back into the house with an apology, at which point they were separated. That's when she said she was dragged into a bathroom and raped, beaten and choked for a half hour.
Later, police received a 911 call from a woman complaining that she had been called racial slurs by white men gathered outside the home where the party took place. Roberts acknowledged that she made the call because she was angry.
Roberts drove herself to the party and said she could have left anytime, but she said, "I didn't want to leave her with them."
Roberts then drove the accuser — whom she had just met that night — to a grocery store and asked a security guard to call 911. The accuser was described later by a police officer as "just passed-out drunk."
Roberts said the woman was sober when they arrived at the house. But by the time the party was over, she said the accuser was too incoherent to tell her where she lived, let alone that she had been raped.
"I didn't do enough," she said, tears welling in her eyes. "I didn't do enough. I didn't do enough."
The defense timeline is backed up by a cab driver who said Seligmann called for a ride at 12:14 a.m., and was picked up five minutes later. The defense argues that if the dancers were performing around midnight, Seligmann would not have had enough time to participate in the 30-minute assault described by the accuser.
Roberts, who is a divorced single mother like the accuser, took umbrage at the notion that she should not try to make something out of her experience.
"Why shouldn't I profit from it?" she asked. "I didn't ask to be in this position ... I would like to feed my daughter."
Roberts said she knows what it's like to sit in jail, and that she would never wrongly accuse an innocent person.
"If the boys are innocent, sorry fellas," she said. "Sorry you had to go through this."
But unlike her and the other dancer, she said, they have money to hire the best attorneys.
"If they're innocent, they will not go to jail," she said. But, she added, "If the truth is on their side, why are they supporting it with so many lies?"
Roberts is bracing for an all-out attack, but said she's almost past caring.
"Don't forget that they called me a damn nigger," she said. "She [the accuser] was passed out in the car. She doesn't know what she was called. I was called that. I can never forget that."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.