Being held on a $300,000 secured bond, 2006 Duke Lacrosse rape accuser Crystal Mangum sits in a Durham County jail cell after being charged with assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill. The man Ms. Mangum allegedly stabbed on April 3 died of his injuries on Wednesday. The charges against Ms. Mangum have yet to be upgraded to murder.
For number of months, as law mandates, Ms. Mangum could conceal her name from the public during the 2006-2007 trial of three white Duke Men’s Lacrosse players she falsely accused of gang raping her.
The charges against the Duke students were eventually dropped and the lacrosse players were found innocent but it was not without many individuals and groups who preferred to jump the gun and presume the men were “racists” and obviously guilty of raping a black stripper who was paid to attend a Duke lacrosse party in 2006.
There was more than enough egg to go around on the faces of those at both Duke and the media who unfairly attacked the Duke Lacrosse team when the facts of the case showed a rape did not happen.
In fact, not only did the out of control then District Attorney who prosecuted the case, Michael Nifong consider bringing in hate crimes against the three Duke students but also was later disbarred for ethics violations over his disgraceful handling and prosecution of the case.
Remember the “Group of 88?” This was a coalition of Duke University faculty professors who used the trial as an excuse to take out an ad in the Duke Chronicle and denounce what they believed to be the “racism, segregation, isolation and sexism” on campus.
In May of 2006 before the charges were dropped, Washington Post columnist Lynne Duke wrote:
The mainstream media have largely tiptoed around the brutal truth that has been discussed among black women in private conversations, in the blogosphere and on college campuses. It is that the Duke case is in some ways reminiscent of a black woman’s vulnerability to a white man during the days of slavery, reconstruction and Jim Crow, when sex was used as a tool of racial domination.
It was the kind of predatory behavior that found its way into modern culture in the old Rolling Stones song, “Brown Sugar.” And the stereotype of black women as highly sexed, like the lascivious Jezebel from slavery days, is a recurring image in music videos today, sparking complaints from many women.
Racial history still resonates, still touches a deep and tender nerve. You can hear it, can hear the bitterness, in the way even a prim older woman discusses the Duke case.
“I think there’s a tendency to downgrade black women and to discount the fact that, no matter what they are there to do, they are not just animals to be used,” says Dorothy Height, 94, president emeritus of the National Council of Negro Women.
“Whatever she did, she was not there as a prostitute,” Height says in her defense.
And yet, that is how she has been portrayed.
On his radio show, Rush Limbaugh called the exotic dancers in the Duke case two “hos.” And on his TV show, Tucker Carlson called the alleged rape victim a “crypto-hooker.”
The article goes further:
Race is a subtext, at Duke, in the battle that is what women’s rights advocates describe as a routine and punishing part of most high-profile rape cases: the tug of war over the image and credibility of a rape victim.
Though the woman in the Duke case is a psychology major at North Carolina Central University, a Navy veteran and a mother of two, those facts have been obscured by the troubling details that have emerged about her life. She had been arrested for drunken driving after a police chase. She had reported a rape in the past; no one was prosecuted. Implying instability, defense attorneys reportedly have sought records on any mental problems she may have had. And they have called her a flat-out liar.
It is the classic “nuts and sluts” defense, says Kim Gandy, president of the National Organization for Women and a former prosecutor.
“It reminds me to some extent of the William Kennedy Smith case, where there was a very organized effort to cast doubt on the victim,” says Susan Estrich, a law professor at the University of Southern California and a rape survivor. Smith was acquitted in 1991 after a judge’s ruling that neither his sexual history nor the alleged victim’s could be aired in open court.
The basis to which the Post’s author is making her conclusions and charges was shattered long ago, starting with the dropped charges against the Duke University lacrosse students and the continued troubles Ms. Mangum has found herself in with the law. How Ms. Duke can defend her points presently looks more like an uphill battle than anything else.
Consider, even before the latest alleged stabbing incident of her now dead boyfriend, Crystal Mangum was charged with attempted murder and arson in February of 2010 (h/t WRAL.com):
Durham police early Thursday arrested the woman who four years ago falsely accused three Duke University lacrosse players of raping her.
Crystal Mangum assaulted her boyfriend, set his clothes on fire in a bathtub and threatened to stab him, investigators said.
She was in the Durham County jail under a $1 million bond. Mangum, 33, has been appointed a public defender and is scheduled to appear in court on Feb. 22.
Most of the group of 88 has moved on and according to recent reports, none have shown remorsefulness or regret for signing the letter and given the recent turn of events for the woman at the center of the storm in 2006, it is highly unlikely Crystal Mangum defenders will be seen in public anytime soon.
Police charged her with attempted first-degree murder, five counts of arson, assault and battery, communicating threats, three counts of misdemeanor child abuse, injury to personal property, identity theft and resisting a public officer.
Shortly after 11:30 p.m. Wednesday, police received a 911 call about a domestic dispute at 2220 Lincoln St. Authorities said they believe the call came from one of the three children inside the house.
When officers arrived, they found Mangum and her boyfriend, Milton Walker, 33, fighting. According to police documents, Mangum scratched, punched and threw objects at Walker and told him, “I’m going to stab you, (expletive)!”
She then went into a bathroom and set his clothes on fire in the bathtub, police said. Officers called the fire department to put out the flames. No one was injured.
Milton was not charged, police said. The three children inside the house, ages 3, 9 and 10, were not injured.
Officers said Mangum gave them a fake name, “Marella Mangum,” and age, prompting the identity theft charge. She also resisted the officers who responded to the scene, according to police documents. She has been ordered to have no contact with Walker.
So where are are the mass defenders of Crystal Mangum now? A few might be in the crevices of the internet after defending her for the last time in 2010, but don’t expect fancy academics and liberal Washington editorial pages shouting from the rooftops about what a heroine they think Crystal Mangum is. Those people have long since gone silent on her story.