Rape charges against three Duke University students accused of attacking a stripper were dropped today, but the lacrosse players still face other charges. Defense attorney Joseph Cheshire said the 28-year-old accuser, a student at North Carolina Central University, has told several different stories throughout the investigation, and now says she doesn’t know if she was penetrated when allegedly attacked and raped in a bathroom at a lacrosse team party in March, where she was hired to perform as a stripper. Because of that, District Attorney Mike Nifong said in court papers that “the state is unable to meet its burden of proof with respect to this offense.” The dismissal form filed by Nifong states, the woman was interviewed on Thursday and “while she initially believed she had been vaginally penetrated by a male sex organ . . . she cannot at this time testify with certainty.” Nifong was counting on the accuser’s story because of the lack of DNA evidence.

The three men — Dave Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann — have pleaded not guilty. They still face kidnapping and sex charges. If convicted, they could face up to 40 years in prison for the sex offenses and 17 1/2 years for the kidnapping charge. Their attorneys say the lack of DNA evidence proves their innocence. Finnerty and Seligmann, both sophomores, were suspended after being indicted. Evans graduated in May, one day before his indictment came down.

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