Last Dance for Grace: Part VI


*Trigger warning. Rape.*

Meeting the Devil

And here’s where things get interesting. Crystal gets her first boyfriend, a man she calls Fredrick Thomas. She later filed a police report that when she was 14, Thomas and two of his friends held her against her will and raped her. She never pursued the case and as a result, nothing ever came of it. But I’ll get into that later.

The book states that some names have been changed in order to protect anonymity, and it seems that Fredrick Thomas is an alias. Although why Crystal is going out of her way to protect someone she accuses of rape is never explained. She tells us that Fredrick is black and 7 years older than her. He got a girl pregnant when he was 17 and married her. But they then divorced. There are no other details.

At first, Crystal’s relationship blossoms with Frederick and she notes, “Fred always managed to say exactly what I was longing to hear.” (Mangum, page 102) Given her tale of low self-esteem, conviction that her family doesn’t care about her, and her inferiority complex, she casts herself as the perfect target for manipulation.

Crystal’s relationship results in a lot of changes in her life. Through Fred’s help, she repairs her relationship with Nikita, and she gains some confidence about her body image. She writes, “Fred came to pick me up at school more and more. I relished these moments because it gave me the opportunity to flaunt my boyfriend in front of the people who still thought I was ugly.” (Mangum, page 103)

But things quickly go bad. Fredrick strikes Crystal for glancing at a young man on the street. He then starts pressuring her to have sex with him. When Crystal doesn’t want to give up her virginity, he says, “Stop being so spoiled, or I’m not going to love  you anymore.” (Mangum, page 106)

A few weeks after that incident, Crystal writes that Fredrick rapes her. This incident, if it happened, was never reported to police and she didn’t seek medical care. So there seems to be no corroborating evidence to go with it. Crystal writes that she continued seeing Frederick after the alleged rape occurs.

There are lots of theories about Crystal’s past and how it related to her rape claim against the Duke lacrosse players. Some theories state that she triggered somehow by the incidents at the party and that caused her to relive her rape horror and accuse the players. Others think that she had dedicated herself to the role of the victim and that none of these rapes she’s claiming ever happened. No one knows for sure and without this alleged rape being reported or documented, her story is all that she has to back up her claim.

In the book, Crystal describes the rape, stating, “He thrust his penis so hard that the pain felt as though my stomach was being ripped out through my vagina… The more I begged and cried for him to stop the more he was determined to inflict pain on me.” (Mangum, page 108-109)

She writes that during this violation Fred tells her, ” “You like for me to go up in your guts?” he laughed. “I’m going to smear your blood on the walls so my boys can see it.” ” (Mangum, page 109) But despite what Mangum describes here, she decides that the perfect solution to her problems at home are by running away and living with Fred full time.

Crystal continues, “I was now full [sic] invested in his plan to separate me from family.” (Mangum, page 113) Then, “Several weeks passed and one Friday, as I arrived home from school, I made the decision that I was going to leave and never return again. The only place for me to go would be Fred’s house.” (Mangum, page 114)

Soon after she moves in with Fred, what is known as the Creedmoor rape allegedly happens. Crystal writes that she had been living with Fred for about three weeks when three of his friends came over to his house. There was a brief argument with the friends and after they left, Fred raped Crystal.

Afterwards, “Fred tried to comfort me using the only logic he could use. He said that this was what happened to everyone who was with him. They all bled because his penis was so big. What happened to me was normal, and I needed to get used to it.” (Mangum, page 116)

His three friends then returned to his house and after an awkward evening, the alleged rape occurred. Crystal writes that Fred, and his friends, Lamont and Terry, rape her. Crystal states that another man, Sam, came to the house as well, but she doesn’t detail what happened to him. She states, “Each one of them took their turns on top of me. All pounding away at my already damaged vagina.” (Mangum, page 120)

Crystal continues to detail her rape, which she claims lasted for almost 8 hours. She adds that she was brutally beaten during this time as well, naming only Fred as the person responsible.  She writes, “I touched my face, and it felt like a water balloon about to burst. My eyes were swollen and puffy and my ears felt as if they were stuffed with cotton. Every word said was muffled.”  (Mangum, page 120-121)

Afterward she writes, “I put on a front with people for so long and never mentioned the rape.” (Mangum, page 124) A rather strange thing for a very famous rape accuser to say. There is not enough evidence to prove that this series of rapes happened. However, at the point where Crystal tells so many stories and constantly tries to put herself as the victim, it leads one to only wonder about her truthfulness here.

Then Crystal writes that she had her first encounter with the mental health system. Crystal returns home and she recalls that, “My depression was debilitating and I didn’t eat. I could only manage to lie in bed and cry day and night.” (Mangum, page 125) Her mother eventually takes her to Duke Medical Center and there she is diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Keep in mind that since all medical records are private, there’s no way to verify that any of this happened.

However, a diagnosis of something as serious as PTSD would lend credibility to her story that she actually did experience this brutal violation. Crystal writes that she was institutionalized for two months and was instructed to end her relationship with Fred. Naturally. Although it seems strange that if she was talking about a being raped and she knew exactly who her attackers were that no one thought to contact the police or attempt to get these allegedly violent criminals off of the streets.

But Crystal doesn’t listen to anyone about Fred. Instead, “As soon as I had a chance, I called Fred and he seemed happy to hear from me.” But all too quickly, “The good feelings I as having were only short-lived as he became violent and abusive again.” (Mangum, page 125) After everything she wrote about her repeated rapes, it’s still not enough to convince her to leave Fred.

These claims to have previously been raped and beaten by three men were not deemed relevant to the Duke case because of the same rape shield law that Myra Shird claims to not know anything about. But how many people accuse two different groups of three men of raping them on two separate occasions? Did this past trauma have something to do with the events of the Duke lacrosse scandal?

One person who is not corroborating Crystal’s claims is her father. While he believed that his daughter was in fact raped by the Duke players, he states in reference to the Creedmoor rape, “They didn’t do anything to her.” (Yaegaer & Pressler, page 53) Regardless of what the truth was in this instance, it’s yet another example of how truth, fiction, and proof collide and disappear in the strange world that Crystal Mangum inhabits.

To read all of the articles in the Last Dance for Grace series, click here. Blogs are in reverse chronological order.