The fallout from one woman’s lies

Crystal Mangum, 32, is in the news again. You may not have heard her name, but you probably recall her notoriety. She’s the exotic dancer who accused Duke University lacrosse players of gang rape on March 13, 2006.

Why is she in the news? Well, two weeks ago, Mangum allegedly stabbed her boyfriend, Reginald Daye, 46, in the chest during an argument.  A few days ago, the man was taken off of life support and died.

This isn’t the first time that Mangum has been in trouble. A year ago, she was arrested for assaulting a different boyfriend, setting his clothes on fire in a bath tub, and threatening to stab him. She did this in front of her three children (none of whom were fathered by the boyfriends), and while two police officers were in the apartment. Although the children were not injured, she was found guilty of misdemeanor child abuse and damaging property.

But let’s get back to the case that made Crystal Mangum famous, or infamous.

Duke Lacrosse case

Mangum and another woman were hired to be strippers at a party hosted by captains of the Duke lacrosse team. Mangum, who is African American, claimed she was gang-raped by 20 white guys. Later she changed her story to say it was three white guys. She was asked to identify her assailants from photos several times, and never came up with the same three guys. She continued to change her story—estimates of the number of different tales she told to police range from five to 12. And the other exotic dancer, from the beginning, said that Mangum was not assaulted at all.

Mangum was an incredibly unreliable witness. But Duke University faculty members, called the “Group of 88,” took out a full-page ad in the student newspaper, the Chronicle, called, “What does a social disaster sound like?” The ad decried racism, sexism and upscale sports on campus, and implied that Mangum’s accusations were true. Even the Chronicle condemned the ad as, “radical, inflammatory discourse.”

The Durham County District Attorney, Michael Nifong, went ahead and filed charges against three lacrosse players, all white males. In fact, Nifong even withheld DNA evidence that proved Mangum had sexual contact with multiple men—none of whom were the lacrosse players.

In the meantime, various advocacy organizations and the national media jumped onboard. The entire incident was portrayed as a racial hate crime, anti-feminist sexism, wealth vs. poverty, even conservatives vs. liberals, depending on who was pontificating.

Eventually, the case fell apart. The North Carolina attorney general not only dropped the charges against the students, but took the extraordinary step of declaring them innocent.

“Troubled” Crystal Mangum

Crystal Mangum actually came out with a book in 2008. Here’s how the book was promoted in a press release:

The Last Dance for Grace: The Crystal Mangum Story is the only definitive account of the life and struggles of the woman at the center of the Duke Lacrosse case, the alleged accuser. Were it not for the Duke Lacrosse Case, she likely would be described as a bright, young woman from Durham, North Carolina, who has had a difficult life. Like so many of us, Crystal has made mistakes and has struggled to make amends. Her biggest mistake just happened to lead to one of the most controversial legal cases in American history.

Well, that’s the hype. Another account on describes Mangum’s life as “troubled.”

Back in 1993, when she was 14 years old, Mangum claimed that she was raped, and her family members still disagree on whether it actually happened. A few years later she married and accused her husband of threatening to kill her, which he denied. Mangum failed to appear in court, and the charges were dismissed. She started working as a stripper in 2002. She stole a customer’s car keys while giving him a lap dance, sped off in his car while intoxicated, and almost ran over a cop.

Mangum has a history of mental problems, and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, according to the Raleigh News and Observer. There is a link between bipolar disorder and sociopathy. Dr. Liane Leedom writes that people who are bipolar may exhibit sociopathic traits when they are manic.

Many mental health professionals do not like to diagnose women as sociopaths—in fact, a lot of women who are diagnosed as borderline are probably sociopaths. So given the overlap between bipolar disorder and sociopathy, maybe the diagnosis in this case was wrong. Maybe Crystal Mangum is a sociopath.


The really shocking thing about this case is how much trouble and trauma were cause by one individual who lied. Here is part of what happened in the aftermath of the Duke Lacrosse case:

  • The three accused lacrosse players were suspended from Duke.
  • The remainder of the Duke lacrosse season was cancelled.
  • The lacrosse coach resigned, but later sued the university.
  • District Attorney Michael Nifong resigned and was disbarred.
  • The New York Times and other media outlets were criticized for sloppy journalism and rushing to conclusions.
  • The three accused players racked up millions of dollars in legal bills.
  • The accused players filed lawsuits against Duke, the city of Durham and the police.
  • Duke settled the lawsuits—although the amount was not disclosed, one estimate was $50 million.
  • Duke lacrosse players who where not accused also filed lawsuits against the university, the city, the district attorney and others.

There’s much more, and you can read the whole story in the Wikipedia summary of the case.

So here’s the bottom line: The combination of pathological liars and hot-button issues—like racism, sexism and rape—can be catastrophic. That’s why it is so important for people in positions of authority to refrain from rushing to judgment, and to take the time to thoroughly investigate claims of guilt and innocence.

Lovefraud readers who have been falsely accused by sociopaths certainly understand this. Somehow, we have to get the message out to all those people who need to understand it but don’t—like cops, child protection caseworkers, prosecutors, judges and the media.


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Baby doll,
My hypnotherapist taught me EFT techniques for releasing negative emotional patterns caught in the body’s electrical field. Google it. It seems to help a bit.

This controversial story deserves more than just a one sided explaination. The read just felt wrong this time, more like brainwashing then reading factual info. Lets not forget about Susan Smith, who is caucasian, and the lies she told about a black man abducting her children when she actually killed them for her relationship with a caucasian male.

To go back to the question about what type of therapy works best: When I went to therapy I did the then in vogue thing and did a lot of inner child work…but, at the same time I was in AA, which takes a more cognitive approach, and a stay in the now attitude. It also does not allow you to asign much blame to others, but to stay focused on one’s self. I found this difficult, at the time because it seemed like 2 absolutely contradictory approaches.

I’m not sure what the answer is because I see the value and the wisdom in both.

I do think there is such a thing as analysis paralysis, and they are saying now that refocussing on a traumatic event can be re-traumatizing and actually increases bonding by increasinly entrenching those traumas in nueral pathways.

On the other hand, the cognative approach seems sort of a denial of the victims rights to her/his truth, feelings, perceptions.

I learned in therapy that the three rules you learn in an alcoholic home (traumatic home) is 1.) Don’t talk. 2.) Don’t trust. 3.) Don’t feel.

The cognitive approach wants to assert that WE CAUSE OUR EMOTIONS VIA OUR THOUGHTS. To some extent I agree.

I think you can use both approaches, if you remain pliant and open minded. It worked for me for a long time!

I guess I’m back in that confusion about which path to take myself, and that may well be part of my frustration right now. Maybe I need to take my own advise, here and be a little less rigid in needing it all in black or white.

Don’t know if this is helpfull, but it kind of helped me identify one of MY sticking points.
thanks for bringing it up.

Dear Babydoll,

The fear is a normal part of the injury sequence. YOu get hurt, you start to fear what hurt you. DUH! NORMAL.

In the situation with a victim that has been injured over and over by a psychopath or several psychopaths is we start to fear a “general” group–like all Christians (if most of the people hwo hurt us were Christians, or all men, or all women, or all blacks or all whites, etc.) so PREJUDICES and HYPER VIGILANCE are formed.

Fear naturally and normally raises our “stress hormones” and in a situation where you need to run from a tiger this is GREAT HELP but when you have these hormones flowing at high volume all the time (from the constant fear and hyper vigilance) they actually HARM YOUR BODY and MIND.

Have you ever seen how a dog that has been kicked by about every human it meets behaves? Sometimes they belly crawl and wet themselves trying not to be kicked again, and sometimes they become very aggressive, attacking at the hand extended in friendship. Sometimes WE behave this way as well when we have been abused….we may strike out at people, or we may be belly crawling subservient trying to please them enough to not be abused more. Neither way works very well.

We CAN to a greater extent than most people are aware CONTROL OUR EMOTIONS WITH OUR THOUGHTS….and like other things we learn to do, IT TAKES PRACTICE TO GET BETTER AT IT.

If we sit and think about BM or anyone else and continually think about and go over in our minds the things she/he/they have done to us and how badly it hurt us we will start to feel some NEGATIVE EMOTIONS—anger, rage, sadness, etc.—but if when we find ourselves doing this, we say to ourselves “STOP!!!! Yes, she did that in the past, but she has NO MORE POWER OVER ME NOW. I AM FREE OF HER.”

Your emotions (believe it or not) will start to calm down. Keeping ourselves out of an “Excited” and “agitated” state is important in our healing. That doesn’t mean you “suppress” your feelings but you just do not let the Feelings CONTROL YOU—you take control.

Our brains are like a filing cabinet with the capability to think of only one “file” at a time….so if there is a file that is causing you EMOTIONAL DISTRESS and STRESS—put it away and take out another one. You can actually even “visualize” opening a drawer, and putting that closed file away, and taking out another one of YOUR CHOOSING.

Sometimes the brain will pop open a drawer and “spontaneously” throw out a memory-file that is painful for us, but we can shut it back up and say “I don’t want to visualize that right now.”

Praying for those that persecute us is another way And belive me it did help. At first I would have to write out a “prayer” on paper and read it aloud “God, please take care of my egg donor and bless her.” I DID NOT MEAN IT. I Knew God knew I did not mean it, but I DID IT. Eventually I got to where I actually meant it, in that I no longer felt the extreme anger. I still have to do it or the anger comes back and grows again. Working on our own PEACE with this is an ONGOING CONTINUING PROCESS. I don’t think there is ever a point we can say “I am 100% healed like it never happened”—-I think we must continually work on keeping the angst, the wrath, the anger, the resentment down from some of these serious betrayals.

I really have reached the stage of “don’t care” or the “nirvana of indifference with my X Boy the psychopath….but you know, I doubt I will ever ENTIRELY get there with my P son or my egg donor, though actually I pretty well did get there with my P sperm donor as I didn’t grow up knowing him as a “father” but only as a young adult.

Growing up at your BM’s knee, and being betrayed by the relationship of a parent that should have been a nurturing one may be an ongoing process the rest of your life, but it WILL GET EASIER.

The old “turn the other cheek” (taken out of context) “commandment” that is used to try to enforce our compliance with abuse is sooooo WRONG….just like the “forgive 70x 7” OK, FORGIVE is one thing (getting the bitterness out of your heart for someone who is bad) but there is NOTHING IN THERE ABOUT “sticking around and letting them hurt you.”

God could have kept Herod from trying to find and kill the baby Jesus, but He had a purpose in sending Joseph and Mary and the baby into Egypt to hide for a couple of years and the Bible says that he “called His son out of Egypt” just like the Jews came out of Egypt….there was a purpose in Joseph (the boy) going into Egypt as a slave, but it was accomplished by the betrayal of his brothers….Joseph had forgiven them decades before they showed up in Egypt to buy grain, but HE DID NOT TRUST THEM, even though he knew by then that there was a PURPOSE in him being in Egypt (to save grain in the good years for the coming bad years) he still did not TRUST his brothers until he saw that they had changed and repented. He tested them severely, even brutally, by today’s standards.

Just as Saul could have been prevented from trying to hurt David, David learned lessons in the wilderness and by having to run and hide that he wouldn’t have learned otherwise.

I know I learned some lessons when I was hiding in the “wilderness” away from my home. I realized that the house, the farm, my “home” is NOT THAT IMPORTANT….it is simply boards and nails and shingles…STUFF. And STUFF is not all that important.

Gold and silver, houses, cars, clothes, jewels, are all STUFF….and stuff rusts, breaks, gets stolen, lost, used up….and is NOT THAT IMPORTANT.

What is important on this earth I believe is what goes on between our ears, and how we treat others, and our relationship to ourselves and with our higher power. But even in the end, though we love others and they love us, our “journey” here on earth is ultimately SOLITARY in nature. NO other human can absolutely know what we feel or think, but the LOVE that we share with others, and they with us, goes on even when they are no longer here. When they have died or left, that love and caring can still be felt. We may even reach the point that some very elderly people do who have outlived all their children, spouses, friends and other significant people in their lives, yet their lives can still be full because of the memories they have of those time.

Dear Shojo,

People of all races/cultures try to use the “race card” to blame someone else, to instill prejudice and hate. She is a black psychopath I think, and the DA is a white one, Susan Smith is a white psychopath, OJ Simpson is a black one…Michael Vick is a black one…John Edwards is a white one..psychopathy is an “equal opportunity” personality disorder not respecting sex, race, color, creed, religion, national origin, age, political party, education, IQ or any thing else, really except the lack of empathy, the lack of compassion, the lack of consideration for others’ welfare or condition.

Unfortunately, too many times if a white accuses a black of a crime (even if the black person is guilty) it is denounced as “racist” and vice versa. The “race card” is used as a way to divert the attention from the crime and to project blame back on the accuser.

The many times that (especially) women have FALSELY accused their husbands of sexually molesting their children in order to gain control of the child and cut the man out of the child’s life, has made SUSPECT ANY LEGITIMATE CLAIM of a man molesting (or even a woman molesting) their children.

The “recovered memories” witch hunts that went on a few years ago with therapists unwittingly (or maybe wittingly) implanting false memories of sexual abuse decades old which were used to prosecute and convict INNOCENT FATHERS AND MOTHERS of molesting children…are not too far removed from the SALEM WITCH HUNTS in which hysterical testimony was elicited against which there was no defense.

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