Friday, September 21, 2007

Presumed guilty

The hypocrisy is galling:

ON THE night of March 13th 2006, 47 lacrosse players at Duke University, North Carolina, paid a couple of strippers to entertain them. Things went badly from the start. The girls arrived late. One of them, Crystal Mangum, was so drunk that she could not utter a coherent sentence. Her “dance” lasted four minutes. But over the next few days a sordid evening mutated into a life-ruining tragedy. Ms Mangum alleged that some of the players had beaten and gang-raped her. And the full force of the American legal system and media machine was deployed against a group of young men who were presumed to embody all the evils of America's demons of racism and sexism. The students Ms Mangum accused are white: Ms Mangum is black.

The accusation was a transparent lie from the start. Ms Mangum, who had been picked up by the police, brought up the subject of rape only when she was confronted with the possibility of a spell in a mental hospital. She recanted her accusation and then recanted her recantation. She told conflicting stories that numbered her assailants at anything from two to 20. Her co-dancer described her claims as “a crock”. The police who interviewed her on the first night regarded her charges as incredible—and, in truth, she had a long record of alcohol and drug abuse, mental instability and making up far-fetched stories. Read More.

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