In the middle of a Duke lacrosse party where a dancer said she was gang-raped for 30 minutes, a call was placed from her cell phone to a Durham escort service.
The 12:26 a.m. call to the service, Centerfold, lasted one minute, according to a copy of her cell phone bill reviewed by The News & Observer. It is unclear whether the call was a request for another job, a cry for help or something else, or even whether the accuser made the call herself.
But the accuser's phone records add some details to the chronology of the March 13 party, a drunken spring break bash that spawned a national controversy.
Neither prosecutors nor defense lawyers would discuss the phone records Tuesday. Neither the accuser nor a second dancer at the party could be reached, nor could representatives of Centerfold. Police Chief Steve Chalmers was out of town; his spokeswoman said he would not discuss the case.
Three players have been charged with first-degree rape, sexual offense and kidnapping: Reade Seligmann, 20, of Essex Fells, N.J.; Collin Finnerty, 19, of Garden City, N.Y.; and Dave Evans, 23, of Bethesda, Md. Lawyers for the players have proclaimed their clients' innocence and said no rape or sex occurred at the house at 610 N. Buchanan Blvd.
District Attorney Mike Nifong, whose handling of the case has undergone national scrutiny, has been adamant that the woman was raped at the party. Nifong has not given a precise timeline of when he thinks an assault occurred.
On the night of March 13, the lacrosse team hired the two dancers from Allure Escort Services and Bunny Hole Entertainment. The accuser, a 27-year-old mother of two and student at N.C. Central University, was hired to perform for two hours for $400, as was a second dancer, Kim Roberts.
Roberts gave a written statement to police saying she arrived at 11 p.m. She said the players were anxious when the other dancer failed to appear on time.
Series of calls
According to a copy of the accuser's phone bill reviewed by The N&O, she received short calls at 11:11 p.m. and 11:22 p.m., and then called her father at 11:25, a call that lasted 7 minutes.
She received two more calls, at 11:33 and 11:36. This last call lasted three minutes, indicating she did not arrive at the party until 11:39 p.m. at the earliest.
Brian Taylor, a friend who drove her to the party, told The N&O in May she was late and he had difficulty finding the house.
"On our way there, she got two calls on her cell phone saying if you don't come soon, it's going to get canceled," Taylor said in an interview in May.
Court filings show that the dancers and the lacrosse players agree on one thing: The women danced in the living room of the house for several minutes before a crude comment from a lacrosse player made Roberts uncomfortable and the women stopped dancing.
Time-stamped photos of the party show the women dancing at midnight and then leaving the room at 12:04 a.m. In prior interviews, defense lawyers have said the women, after they left the room, locked themselves in the bathroom while one lacrosse captain tried to persuade them to continue the show. The women then left the house, the lawyers said.
At 12:26 a.m. came the call to Centerfold.
The next time-stamped photo shows the accuser on the back porch, fumbling through a small bag at 12:30. A photo at 12:37 shows her lying on the back porch as if passed out. A final photograph, at 12:41, shows a player helping the accuser into Kim Roberts' car.
As she was driving away with the accuser, Roberts called 911 at 12:53 to complain that the men were shouting racial slurs at her.
The accuser later told police that three men had pulled her into a bathroom at the party and raped her.
She has given differing accounts to nurses, doctors and police, ranging from no rape to an assault by two, three or five men.
Roberts initially told police that the allegations of rape were "a crock" because the accuser was out of her sight for less than five minutes the entire evening. She has since said that a sexual assault may have occurred.
Defense lawyers have pressed in court for more information on the escort services that sent the accuser and another dancer to the party. But at a hearing June 22, Nifong told a judge that there were no reports on them.
"There is no additional information other than that which has already been furnished, recovered by the police about Allure Escort Services or Bunny Hole Entertainment," Nifong said. "All the information we've been able to gain has already been furnished to the defense."
There is nothing in evidence reviewed by The N&O or filed in court to indicate that Durham police investigated the call made at 12:26 a.m.
(Staff writers Benjamin Niolet and Anne Blythe contributed to this report.)
Staff writer Joseph Neff can be reached at 829-4516 or firstname.lastname@example.org.