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Duke lacrosse accuser: 'Something did happen to me'

Posted October 23, 2008

— The woman at the center of the Duke lacrosse scandal said she is not lying and that “something did happen to me” the night of March 13, 2006, according to an excerpt from her new book. (Read the full excerpts from the book.)

A news conference by Crystal Gail Mangum is under way now at the Know Bookstore in Durham to promote “The Last Dance for Grace: The Crystal Mangum Story," which is being released today.

Mangum is expected to discuss her reasons for writing the memoir and to answer questions about the book, which includes her thoughts about the aftermath of the Duke lacrosse case and her story of being gang raped and beaten by a boyfriend at age 14.

Vincent “Ed” Clark, co-author of the book, released three chapters to the media on Wednesday. To get the material, media outlets had to agree not to release the excerpts until 6 a.m. Thursday.

Clark later asked the media not to release one of the chapters he had given them, "Meeting the Devil," since it included explicit sexual references about Mangum being raped when she was 14.

“Being in the public eye and under so much scrutiny has been difficult,” Mangum wrote in one passage of the book. “Even as I try to move on with my life, I still find it necessary to take one more stand and fight. I want to assert, without equivocation, that I was assaulted. Make of that what you will. You will decide what that means to you because the state of North Carolina saw fit not to look at all that happened the night I became infamous.”

Clark says Mangum did not write the book to rehash the case. In the book, he defends Mangum and said “she is not evil, a drug abuser or a criminal.”

“The purpose of the book is to provide information about Crystal Mangum's life and to shed new light on the subject. We stand by the decision of North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper,” Clark said.

Mangum was a student at North Carolina Central University in March 2006 and also worked as an exotic dancer when she performed at a party hosted by several Duke lacrosse players.

It was at that party, Mangum alleged, that three white members of the team trapped her inside a bathroom and raped and sexually assaulted her. David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann were later indicted on rape and other counts on the basis of her allegations.

Then-District Attorney Mike Nifong dismissed rape charges against the men in December 2006 after Mangum said she was not certain she was raped. He let other charges stand.

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper dismissed the remaining charges of sexual assault and kidnapping in April 2007 and declared the former players innocent.

Evans , Finnerty and Seligmann asked that Mangum not be pursued criminally because, "We felt sorry for her, and we felt, to some degree, she had been victimized by the process," according to Evans' attorney Joseph Cheshire.

In an interview this past August, Cheshire said Mangum had better tell the truth in her new book.

"My advice would be that if this book comes out and it contains things that are not true about what happened on that evening … it would be my advice to them to make sure she doesn't make one single penny off of it," he said.

The attorney general's office – which never pursued a case against Mangum, saying she likely believed the allegations – has not commented on the book.

“I’m not who they say I am. I’m not lying. Something did happen to me,” Mangum wrote in her book.

A divorced mother of three, Mangum hasn't spoken publicly about the case, other than granting an interview to The News & Observer in the early days of the investigation.

Mangum reveals in her book that CNN’s Soledad O’Brien came to North Carolina this past January and interviewed her for four hours, but CNN never aired the footage. CNN has not returned her calls or explained why the interview did not air, Mangum said.

Mangum writes in explicit detail about being repeatedly beaten and raped at age 14 by a much older boyfriend, whom she calls “Fred.” His friends also gang raped her, she said.

Mangum said she eventually went to a psychiatric hospital to help her cope with post-traumatic stress disorder that resulted from the abuse. After two months at the hospital, she returned to Fred, who continued abusing her, she said. She later left him.

Magnum plans to donate $1 from the purchase of each book to help battered women, according to Clark. Mangum, who graduated last spring from NCCU, lives in Raleigh and says she is looking into law or graduate school.

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  • attentive Oct 23, 2008

    And the Golo award for the day goes to.....EyeCatcher!!!! Why? For the many wonderful comments posted today concerning Crystal that caught many Eyes and provoked many responses!

  • Scarecrow Cow Oct 23, 2008

    I can't believe she would stand up with a straight face and continue to lie, and it sickens me that she would try to capitalize on her destruction of three innocent men's lives. She did not even write the book - there's not way it couldn't have been ghostwritten. Awful.

  • TexasKate Oct 23, 2008

    Stop! Here's the plan. Ms Mangum should take that summa cum laude right over to Duke and apply for a teaching position.
    What are they gonna do? Not hire her? Shocked, shocked I tell you, racism of the foulest sort!!!!
    What are they gonna do? Not give her tenure? Dismiss her?
    Let that albatross hang around Duke's neck forever.

  • Unfair Moderators Stink Oct 23, 2008

    Oh .... one more thing for those who still want to place blame on the Duke students falsely accused......did you catch the part in this story about how Roy Cooper didn't bring charges against this woman because the students felt sorry for her and asked that she not be charged? Who in this scenario has character and who doesn't? She doesn't.

  • kopfjaeger2001 Oct 23, 2008

    Claims she was raped, but all the accused players were cleared by DNA. She admitted she couldn't remember and still says we should believe her? She destroyed her credibility and attempted to destroy the future of three innocent students. Since she couldn't cash in on a civil lawsuit, she decided to write a book of lies. Thats one way to make money. Afterall, there are plenty of those out there who like good fiction.

  • Unfair Moderators Stink Oct 23, 2008

    "something did happen to me"

    Yes -- you "interacted" with several men that night...you made up a horrible story the next day and accused 3 innocent men of assaulting you...then you changed your story several times...then you helped a corrupt DA keep the lies going....then Roy Cooper's investigative team stepped in, conducted an honest investigation and made things as right a something like this can be made. Not once have you apologized that I know of. Nice. Really, really nice.

  • attentive Oct 23, 2008

    Thanks again WRAL for all the coverage on Crystal's book. To all you haters: you should know that none of your negative comments will make or break anything,you surely didn't stop the events of today! Crystal's book was published,it's on the shelves and was topped off with a press conference today!( So what if she was a little nervous)You go Crystal!Bought 20 today for Christmas gifts.Think i'll purchase 20 more tomorrow morning online-6:00a.m.just to give out solely for the purpose of supporting her.GREAT BOOK!Vince: Job well done! To: EYECATCHER-You have made some very good points. Keep up the good work!!!

  • Tired of your excuses Oct 23, 2008

    Oh puleeze! I hope the book flops!

  • ascutler Oct 23, 2008

    I have yet to hear an apology come out of her mouth to these gentlemen who were wrongly accused. The same for the high profiled ones who ran their mouths against the Lacrosse players without knowing the facts. They apparently crawled under a rock.

  • greentara Oct 23, 2008

    oh barf! and who would care about her miserable life anyway?

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