Prosecutors have dismissed second-degree rape charges against Melvin Scott, the former UNC basketball guard who played on the 2005 championship team.
The charges, filed in late November, were dismissed Monday after prosecutors received results from evidence tested as part of the investigation – cups, bottles and other items collected from Scott’s Durham apartment.
Scott, who played at UNC for four years after a stand-out high school career in Baltimore, lost two jobs while the accusations lingered. He had been teaching physical education and helping to coach the high school basketball team at Voyager Charter School in Durham. When the school found out in September about the investigation, Scott said he was initially put on paid leave, but eventually the position was terminated. Scott also had been working with his alma mater, helping monitor class attendance of some of the athletes.
“The past eight months were traumatic for me, both mentally and financially,” Scott said in a statement he released Wednesday. “I’ve sustained multiple losses, including defamation of character and several dissolved business relationships. Not only was I deeply affected, but my family and friends underwent distress because of the false accusations. This ordeal was very devastating, but throughout the process I remained cooperative and modest, knowing the truth would prevail.”
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Scott said his troubles began months before his arrest on Nov. 21. In late August, an officer knocked on his door asking about a woman he had been with hours before she crashed her car.
The officer told Scott the woman could not remember where she had been. But he had a text record on his phone, showing that she had left his home about 8 p.m. The wreck was at least four hours later.
Scott told the officer he had been with the woman for several hours and had drinks with her at his apartment. The officer took cups, bottles and other evidence from the apartment with Scott’s permission.
Weeks went by. Then Scott was arrested and jailed on the Friday before Thanksgiving.
A Durham police report said the accusations stemmed from an Aug. 20 incident in which a female acquaintance reported being “mentally incapacitated and physically helpless.”
Since posting bond, Scott said he had not been back to court.
James “Butch” Williams, the Durham attorney who represented him, said Wednesday he heard from prosecutors earlier this week that they were dismissing the charges.
Roger Echols, the Durham District Attorney, confirmed that Wednesday.
“I’m glad this has happened so my client can move on with his life,” Williams said.
The dismissal notice offered few details about the allegations or how they ended with Scott accused.
“Victim has no memory of sexual activity,” the document signed by assistant district attorney Kelly Guager stated. “[I]nsufficient evidence at this time that victim was drugged, no known witnesses at this time to any activity of victim or defendant during period of time surrounding incident.”
Scott said he doesn’t understand why investigators charged him first instead of waiting to see whether evidence supported the accusations they brought.
The Durham Police Department pressed forward with rape allegations against Duke lacrosse players almost a decade ago despite early evidence that cast doubts. After a year with false accusations lingering over the three players, the state Attorney General exonerated them and took the unusual step of declaring them innocent.
Scott, who has maintained his innocence from the start, thanked family and friends who stood by him. He said he hoped to return to teaching and coaching.
“I am hoping to restore my reputation and my career,” Scott said.