Last Dance for Grace, Part IX

mangumf72bbe8b-84e2-4842-a75d-14ba10280660*Trigger warning: Rape*

March 13, 2006 – Part Two

This chapter is about the second part of the Duke lacrosse party and the events which led up to Crystal believing that she was raped. Crystal writes that she had been working as an exotic dancer for about two months when she finds herself, “-At this party at 610 Buchanan Boulevard with a room full of obnoxious young guys.” (Mangum, page 167) She recaps the events of the party up to a certain point, stating that she and her fellow stripper, Kim, fled to their car after a lacrosse player made a comment that they were going to shove a broomstick up their asses.

However, in Part I, Crystal writes that the comment coupled with the aggressive nature of the boys made both her and Kim cry and fear for their safety. Then, inexplicably, Kim and Crystal decide to stay at the party. She continues, “Emotionally upset, I felt dizzy and out of sorts when we returned to the house.” (Mangum, page 167) She doesn’t say why they returned when she has already written that they were intimidated and she didn’t even feel well.

Crystal tries to combat some of the people who doubted her testimony and states, “My account of what happened next is the same as I have described all along. It has been said that I gave varying accounts but that just isn’t true.” (Mangum, page 167) No seriously, that’s exactly what she wrote.

This is a flat out lie. Not a different point of view, not true but only if you look at it a certain way, not a time to use the word “alleged”. This is just a lie. I can’t even link to the myriad sources that state that Crystal’s story was not consistent and in fact changed multiple times in tons of different ways.

But Crystal doesn’t seem to be concerned with this at all. She continues, “People have written reports who did not interview me directly. Why are they more credible than I am?” (Mangum, page 167) They’re more credible because they’re not proven liars? But still, Crystal seems to have this idea that if someone does not speak to her directly, nothing that they say will be true. People wrote reports based off of police statements and other eye witness accounts that did not match what she was saying. No one has to talk to Crystal directly to know that she’s not telling the truth.

Not pausing for a second, Crystal is quick to deduce why people didn’t believe her. “Because defending sexual assault cases is calling into question the accuser’s account.” She continues, “It comes down to the two sides fighting as hard as they can to win their freedom. Yes, the accuser in the case is looking for freedom, too. Carrying the weight of a sexual assault on a person is a devastating burden.” (Mangum, page 167-168)

It pains me to think that this delusional liar is putting herself in the same position as women who really have been raped. It has been shown in a court of law that not only was she not raped by the three accused players, but that she was not raped at all. Real victims have serious problems getting their cases heard and handled and Crystal Mangum comes waltzing into the picture, high as a kite, completely unaware of what’s going on and shits all over it.

But Crystal realizes that she has to refrain from mentioning the names of the men that she accused of assaulting her because, “The criminal case is over!” (Mangum, page 168) But with that said, she writes that she still believes that she was assaulted and the dismissal of the charges only means that she can’t find her “justice” or her “freedom”.

And now, Crystal mentions Kim. She writes, “Kim/Nikki and I got separated.” (Mangum, page 168) Of course, Kim, at first, didn’t agree with Crystal’s version of events. Kim went as far as to call her allegations of rape “a crock“. She only changed her mind about that after DA Nifong helped her out with her previous criminal charges of violating her probation after she was convicted of embezzling thousands of dollars from her former employer.

Now her story stated that Crystal might have been slipped the date rape drug. She added that Crystal’s impairment only began at the party and she was not under the influence of anything when she arrived (Taylor & Johnson, page 193). Crystal herself wrote in Part 1 that, “We will never be sure what was in the drinks that Dan gave us. I don’t know who made them or what they contained.” (Mangum, page 42)

However, on March 22, 2006, Kim filled out a statement which varied considerably from Crystal’s original story. She mentions nothing about being separated from Crystal, let alone account for the half hour that the rape was supposed to have taken place in. She also states that Crystal reentered the house after telling her that she wanted to make more money (Baydoun & Good, page 13)

Nevertheless, in Crystal’s version of events, she got separated from Kim and  dragged into the bathroom. She writes that two men were in front of her while one was behind. Crystal began to scream for help, but no one could hear her. And that’s when it begins.

“Then I felt as though I was being penetrated, first in my vagina, then in my anus.” (Mangum, page 168) I question her phrasing here. She “felt as though” she was being raped? She wasn’t sure? I’m pretty sure that if someone sticks something into one of your orifices, you’re aware of it.

According to Crystal, her attackers then threaten to kill her and Crystal is now certain that, “He penetrated my vagina.” Then there is the infamous fiance statement. Crystal writes that the third rapist states, “I don’t want to. I love my fiancee and we are going to get married.” (Mangum, page 168) However, none of the lacrosse players, let alone the three that she accused, were engaged.

But in Crystal’s story the other two rapists convince the engaged one to assault her and, “When he finally did, each thrust hurt and it felt like my insiders [sic] were being ripped out.” She adds, “I also believe I may have been penetrated with a foreign object.” (Mangum, page 169) This refers to the aforementioned broomstick. When no DNA could from the Duke players turned up in any of the many DNA tests that were done, the conclusion was reached that maybe Crystal hadn’t been penetrated with a male sex organ at all. Instead, maybe the players made good on their broomstick joke.

But Crystal herself contradicts this when she writes, “The second attacker decided to penetrate me again. This time anally and painfully. He removed himself just before he had an orgasm and ejaculated on the floor.” (Mangum, page 169) If she was bodily penetrated, then why wasn’t any of the player’s DNA on her body? No skin cells, no hair follicles, no semen were found on her. Also, why wasn’t there any of the indicted player’s DNA on the floor of the bathroom where the alleged rape occurred?

But after the alleged rape, Crystal details that, “The guys wiped me off quickly and attempted to straighten my clothes.” (Mangum, page 169) A towel was recovered from the house which was tested for DNA. It contained Dave Evan’s DNA and no one else’s. So if Mangum was cleaned off with a towel, what happened to it? Why is there no evidence to corroborate Crystal’s story and so much evidence that contradicts it?

Next, “Kim entered the bathroom and helped them finish fixing my clothes.” (Mangum, page 169) Kim already refuted these claims. However, it makes no sense that Kim was dragged into another room, then suddenly appears to help Crystal’s rapist dress her and bundle her into Kim’s car. But after Crystal claims that several people dragged her from the house and deposited her in the passenger’s seat of Kim’s car, she writes that she pretended to be asleep.

Meanwhile, Kim got into a verbal confrontation with the lacrosse players and after the war of words, the two strippers leave. Crystal writes that she told Kim that she had been sexually assaulted but this doesn’t seem to impact the dancer at all. At this point Kim, and the report filed by a police officer later, asserted that Crystal pretended to pass out in the car and refused to tell Kim where she lived, where to drop her off, or even her real name.

Crystal writes, “She had no idea where I lived, and I could not tell her where to take me because I was not exactly sure where I was.” (Mangum, page 170) In Crystal’s version of events, she’s still conscious but confused and unsure. She doesn’t explain why she needs to know where she is in order to tell Kim where she lives.

Anyway, according to reports, Kim goes into a Kroger’s and alerts the security guard that Crystal refuses to get out of her car. According to Crystal, Kim says that she doesn’t know what to do and so she then calls the cops to remove a battered and recently raped woman from her vehicle. Crystal’s version makes less and less sense.

So the police are called and then Crystal’s story skips ahead to when Crystal enters the Duke Medical Center. What Crystal leaves out is that when Sergeant John Shelton arrives in response to Kim’s 911 call, he states that Crystal is in the car pretending to be unconscious. He notes that people who are passed out will come to after being exposed to ammonia capsules.

However, Crystal simply starts breathing through her mouth when Shelton uses the capsules on her. When Shelton attempts to physically remove Crystal from the car, he stated that she grabbed the parking break and held on. Finally, the officer removes her from Kim’s vehicle and she continues to act unconscious.

Since Crystal doesn’t have an ID on her and refuses to talk, Shelton and Willie Barfield, the second responding officer, decide to take her to a mental health and substance abuse facility. Before they leave the Kroger’s parking lot, Barfield calls in to the dispatchers and informs them that Crystal was breathing fine and, “She’s just passed out drunk.” (Yeager & Pressler, page 17) And that was how she ended up at the hospital.

According to Crystal, after she arrived at the hospital she was give a sedative and fell asleep. When she awoke, “There was a nurse in the room asking questions and writing down my answers quickly on a note pad.” (Mangum, page 170) After this she writes that a rape crisis counselor came to visit her. Then she had a pelvic exam which she describes as “excruciating.”

Meanwhile, the rest of the world has a different version of these events. While at the Duke Medical Center, a nurse, Tara Levicy, notices that Crystal is acting strangely and asks her if she had been raped. Crystal, who at this point was potentially facing an involuntary confinement in a mental institution and possibly losing her children, now has the idea of rape introduced into her thinking. And so her storytelling begins.

The first version of events that Crystal told Officer Gwendolen Sutton was that she had been raped by five men. A little later there is a second version of events; some of the lacrosse players had pulled her out of Kim’s car and groped her, but she wasn’t raped. And then a third; another officer wrote in a report that the number of Crystal’s attackers had gone up to 20.

After the rape claim, a physical exam was done. But the medical staff didn’t find any evidence of the trauma that Crystal was complaining about. The only injuries they found on her were small cuts on her legs. Nothing that would confirm a brutal gang rape (Taylor & Johnson, page 31-32).

Back to Crystal’s story. She philosophizes, “After all of this time, I still have difficultly believing that I was the person being examined. Not because I do not believe I was there but because so many people speak with so much certainty about my physical and mental state as if they were there.” (Mangum, page 171) Crystal still seems to be harboring the false notion that no one can say anything about her unless they heard it from her first hand.

Crystal continues, “Obviously, I am not an expert on the mental health of sexual assault victims. I only know how I felt before, during, and after I was raped prior to the North Buchanan incident. I do vividly remember my attackers from my teenage years… I had no choice because I was in love with one of the men who brutalized me repeatedly.” (Mangum, page 171)

After a brief moment of claiming responsibility for her own actions, Crystal is back to being the helpless victim. She had no choice but to be Fred’s rape victim because she was in love with him. She had no agency or ability to do anything about the abusive relationship. Of course, no one ever proved the Fred actually raped her to begin with.

But now Crystal has to explain her faulty memory of the night in question. “I had all of 10 minutes to know everything about everyone who may or may not have come in and out of that house, particular the bathroom.” (Mangum, page 171) It has been proven, conclusively, that Crystal was at the house for more than 10 minutes. So it seems strange that she tries to state that her entire time there amounted to no more than 10 minutes.

She exclaims, “Realistically, what should a victim be able to remember?” (Mangum, page 171) But it’s not as if people didn’t believe her story because there were a few details missing or she couldn’t remember people’s names or face. Her version of the events contradicted photos, documentation and eyewitness statements from almost everyone else in connection with the case. She also changed her story so many times that it was impossible to tell what she really thought had happened.

Crystal continues by explaining the physical injuries that she suffered. “I have not spoken to any of them [the hospital employees who examined her] since that night, but I assure you they were not manufacturing the injuries they reported finding on me.” (Mangum, page 172) But the staff didn’t report injuries on her that were in agreement with her story. The injuries that were reported were non-bleeding scratches on her legs. That’s it.

The rape accuser attests that she had trouble walking after her assault and bled profusely. In addition to this, she claimed, that “I required several X-Rays and MRI exams that showed bruising to my neck and knee that were not present before the attack.” (Mangum, page 172) But how could she have known this? Did she have X-rays and an MRI before the attack that showed no bruising? Crystal states that she has to take pain medication and wear a knee brace.

Meanwhile, her mental health isn’t faring too well either. She writes that she constantly replays the incident in her mind and writes, “I was deeply troubled by the fact that they had used racial epithets before, during and after the attack.” (Mangum, page 172)

And now we go to the photo identification. Crystal admits that, “I am told they [the lineups] were in violation of standard practice for conducting such procedures.” (Mangum, page 173) However, the violation was actually in her favor.

For every one suspect present in the lineup, where are supposed to be seven “filler” photos of people who are not involved in the case at all. Some might be dead. Others could be cops. Others could be people who live on the opposite side of the country. “Instead, I was told that more than likely the people in the pictures were people at the party.” (Mangum, page 173) In reality, she had been shown pictures of all of the players on the Duke lacrosse men’s team and told to pick out the ones who had raped her.

While Crystal admits that her identifications didn’t yield anything useful, she insists that, “My experience in trying to make an identification should not be looked at as anything other than one individual case.” But of course, she has an explanation. She writes, “I saw a room full of strangers for maybe 30 minutes that night.” (Mangum, page 173) What happened to the previously mentioned 10 minutes?

A Rush to Injustice states that on April 4, 2006, Mangum was asked to do another photo ID, this time from a PowerPoint presentation. During this identification she picked out David Evans (one of the indicted players) and said that she was 90% certain that she was one of her attackers. But this was contingent on him having a mustache. He never had a mustache at any time before, during or after the case.

She identifies some other party goers. However, she fingers a player who wasn’t present at the party at all, another who had left before she and Kim had arrived, a second who wasn’t at the party, and she misidentifies the person who made the “broomstick” comment (Bayboun & Good, page 55).

But then she talks about the media storm; “In less than a month, the entire episode had blown up into national news. You can best believe I was not in favor of making any of this public… It did not help that the attorneys for the lacrosse players called press conferences and appeared on cable talk shows more than anyone else.” She continues, “In their zeal to serve their clients, it seems as though they were calling as much attention to the case as possible.” (Mangum, page 174)

Does she really think that the lawyers were ultra eager to make sure everyone in the country knew that their clients were accused of rape? But as Crystal goes on to prove, she had no idea what going on in the case or the media circus. Or really, anything else in her entire life.

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