Statement by John F. Burness on New Indictment in Lacrosse Case

Over the past several weeks, Duke University officials and others in our community have emphasized the importance of not rushing to judgment and letting the legal system establish the truth regarding the incident of March 13. Today a grand jury handed down an indictment against David Evans, who just graduated from Duke and was among the occupants of the house at 610 N. Buchanan Blvd. It is important to remember that an indictment is not a conviction. Ultimately, the District Attorney will be responsible for presenting his evidence, and a jury will decide the innocence or guilt of Mr. Evans and the other two young men who have been charged. As Duke President Richard H. Brodhead has said consistently, a person in our legal system is innocent until proven guilty. It is worth repeating again today that these latest charges do not mean the accused are guilty. That is for a jury to decide.

From the start, our campus and the Durham community have faced the challenge of balancing compassion with judgment. We all hope that the legal process will proceed to a speedy resolution so that everyone can know the truth.