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 FoxNews.com 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.