Duke, former lacrosse coach resolve slander suit
Associated Press Writer
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The former Duke University coach who was fired after a stripper falsely accused three players of rape in 2006 has ended his slander lawsuit against school officials, both sides said Wednesday.
Attorney Jay Trehy said Mike Pressler was dismissing his claims, though he declined to discuss the terms of how it was resolved. Duke officials also declined to discuss details but publicly apologized to Pressler for any “adverse consequences” that two media stories had on the coach or his family.
“Coach Michael Pressler is an excellent coach,” said Duke spokesman Michael Schoenfeld in a statement. “He did a great job building the Duke men’s lacrosse program, while maintaining a 100 percent graduation rate in his 16 years.”
Pressler had settled with the school when he was fired after three of his players were accused of assaulting an exotic dancer during a team party. Both sides agreed not to make disparaging comments about each other, but the coach later complained about comments that a Duke spokesman made to Newsday and The Associated Press in 2007.
In the AP story, former Duke spokesman John Burness praised Pressler for building the lacrosse team but then added, “Unfortunately last spring it was essential for the team to have a change of leadership in order to move forward.”
Pressler now coaches at Bryant University in Rhode Island and for the 2010 U.S. men’s lacrosse team as it prepares for the world championships in England.
An appeals court ruled last year that Pressler could pursue a slander lawsuit against the school and Burness.
The lacrosse players accused in the case were initially indicted on charges of rape, kidnapping and sexual offense. They were later cleared by state prosecutors, who called them innocent victims of a “tragic rush to accuse.”