Ever lived in hell? Sue would be driving and suddenly couldn't breathe. She'd pull off the highway and gasp for breath, then sob. For six weeks neither she nor Mike could sleep at night. Sue did most of her sleeping in a living-room chair during the day. Maggie kept writing the same thing over and over: The boys are innocent. Janet nearly got in a fight at school with two seniors who planned to go as a stripper and a Duke lacrosse player for Halloween.
Finally, in August, Bryant University in Smithfield, R.I., hired Pressler, who would be moving from the No. 2--ranked program in the country to a Division II project.
By then, lab reports had shown that DNA from five men was found in samples taken from the accuser, and none of those men was a Duke lacrosse player. The woman started changing her story. But Durham district attorney Mike Nifong continued to press his case. Eventually he dropped just the rape charges. Later he was charged with ethics violations by the North Carolina bar, and he turned the case over to state attorney general Roy Cooper.
Finally, there was a day of vindication, last week, when Cooper dropped all the remaining charges and declared, "These three individuals are innocent."
In Rhode Island, Pressler heard "innocent" and tears came to his eyes. In Durham, where she had remained with the girls so they could finish the school year, Sue hugged all the players. The day her husband had promised them had come.
Sue and the girls leave soon to join Mike at Bryant, where he's already turning things around. The Bulldogs just stopped Le Moyne's 70-game winning streak. He's also busy working on his book, It's Not About the Truth.
Would Pressler ever go back to Duke? "After what those folks did to us?" he says. "What those people did to those kids? To go back under that leadership? No, I couldn't do that."
But the question is: When does this fine man who did absolutely nothing wrong get his apology? Where are the mea culpas from Nifong? From Alleva? From Duke president Richard Brodhead?
When is Mike Pressler's day?
COMING IN MAY
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