Tawana Brawley Served With Court Papers

by Yesha Callahan

tawana brawleyIn 1987 at the age of 15, Tawana Brawley made national headlines when she accused six white men, some of whom were police officers, of raping her. Backed by Al Sharpton, Attorneys  Alton H. Maddox and C. Vernon Mason, the media frenzy surrounding the case was intense and racial tensions were at an all time high in New York City.

But it was all a lie. Brawley wasn’t raped and concocted the story, some say, in fear of the consequences she would have received from her parents after running away.

Now one of her accusers is seeking payback in the form of $190,000 he won in a defamation lawsuit against Brawley.

“For at least 25 years, she has been living a major lie … To me, this has always been about responsibility and accountability,” said former Dutchess County prosecutor Steven Pagones, who was falsely accused of raping Brawley in 1987.

Up until recently, Brawley was nowhere to be found. The New York Post tracked her down in Virginia. After 20 years, and 9% interest, the debt Brawley owes now totals $431,492, according to the wage-garnishment papers filed in Virginia’s Surry County Court. Brawley was found living in Hopewell, Virginia, under the assumed name Tawana Vacenia Thompson Gutierrez and working as a licensed nurse.

Pagones said he might be willing to drop the case if Brawley finally confesses:

“There is a feeling of unfinished business to it,” he said of the case that ended his career and cost him his marriage. I look at this as another opportunity for her to tell the truth. People criticize me for going after a hardworking single mother trying to support herself and child. My argument has been she has not been held accountable. If she is not going to tell the truth, then it is about the money. That is the only way to hold her accountable”

  • Mistress Scorpio

    She was a 15 year old child when this happened. If he was innocent and it cost him his marriage, I’m going to wonder how strong the foundations of said marriage were in the first place. Yes, he is an embittered man going after a hardworking single mother trying to support herself and her child. Sorry your life was derailed, man. Others have suffered much worse. Move on.

  • ASK_ME

    Obviously you missed the media circus this then 15 year old created with Al Sharpton. She needs to pay what she owes this man and take responsibility for her actions. She is not a victim here…he and the rest of the men she falsely accused are HER victims.

  • Sasha

    One person’s lie can destroy another person’s life, at times it can be someone they’ve never even before. I really do feel for this man and regardless of Tawana’s age at the time or single motherhood status now, she was found guilty in the lawsuit and its time she pay up. I really feel for this man.

  • RObleu

    Yes! The Tawana Brawley case was a HUGE media circus. It is not okay to lie on people and utilize the history of racism experienced by black Americans (as well as the history of sexual exploitation of black women by white males). He has the right to seek some sort of retribution.

  • Hmmmm

    she should be in jail.

  • Monique

    Tom Wolfe could help her pay this with the royalties from “Bonfire of the Vanities” (partially based on this case). Lol, just sayin.

  • apple

    well white women blame black men all the time for rape when it never happened.. so oh well

  • http://tontonmichel.tumblr.com/ Tonton Michel

    A woman above the age of 20 yeah I understand, but a 15 year old kid? If you wanted to teach her a lesson you should have done it than, now your asking for half a mil from a single mother. I’m tell you like you like to tell all those black men that get released years after they were convicted of a false crime. Oops my bad.

  • silkynaps

    Word!
    Who among you has never told a lie?
    Who has never hurt someone?
    Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.
    Everyone else, the line forms to the left so you can pay $190K for each lie you ever told to each person that was ever hurt. Otherwise, move on and stfu.

  • Christa

    This is sickening. I don’t care how old she was. She was old enough to know that 6 men did not rape her. Its people like her that make it hard for rape victims to come forward with their story.

  • donnadara

    Blame her parents, the media and Al Sharpton. Kids lie. I didn’t know you could sue a minor for defamation. I remember being appalled that her parents would let her be paraded around in the press. What happened to privacy for an alleged rape victim? I don’t blame a child.

  • mo

    They did do it then – she has been ducking the judgment for 20 years…

  • Kitt

    Oh she should definitely pay or at least admit to her lie. If this were a white woman and a black police officer would people be saying leave her alone she was only a kid? She ruined his career and ended his marriage….You can’t just blow up people’s lives for no reason whatsoever and not be accountable. It doesn’t work like that. Oh and thanks for that heads up on Bonfire of the Vanities….I’ve never read that book…..

  • Tamera

    He did 20 years ago, and she changed her name and went into hiding. She has been the one dodging her lesson she was meant to be taking.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mae.hammett Mae Hammett

    She should have to pay.

  • tish

    t. brawley should pay the suit, despite her reasons for lying.

    just like the 1000s of men and women who lynched innocent black men, women and children who are still walking around today.

    t.brawley was a scared 15 yo child. the lynch-mobs that terrorized black communities were ADULTS.

    but, where’s the outrage?

  • Chillyroad

    No. It’s people like her that damage the lives of men who are falsely accused. Every person is innocent until proven guilty but there are some accusations that will stay with you forever.

    We had a shameless article here on Clutch about parents teaching their sons not to rape as if rape is the default setting for men. It’s this climate that men have to live in where they are guilty until proven innocent.

  • Sharon Smith-Hardy

    e did sue her at the time that it happened. This case has been going on for over twenty years. It has taken this long to find her to start the garnishment process because she was using a false name. this man’s life was ruined. Race has no real bearing on this.

  • Sharon Smith-Hardy

    Exactly. And if she were a fifteen year old who committed any other crime, because what she did was a crime, she would be held accountable. She ruined lives.

  • Sam

    Yes, people lie all the time, but to the point where it affects other peoples’ lives is uncalled for. She made up a complete lie and accused innocent people. Those peoples; lives are affected forever. She ruined their good names. I wonder how her supporters like Al Sharpton & Bill Crosby feel about her fabrication?!? She duped them as well. She caused this entire thing! She made her bed and now she can lay it and suffer the consequences.

  • Ange B

    This is sad all around. Making up a lie of being raped is horrible! She should publicly apologize in my opinion. Every time someone lies like that it makes it hard for REAL victims of RAPE!

    I just don’t like false accusations it really makes it hard for others to come forward as they are to this day put through the ringer!

  • Robbie

    Shame on this woman for liying and destroying this man’s life. She should pay up or apologize to him. It is women like her that are like cancer in our society.

  • http://gravatar.com/nolakiss16 binks

    WOW…honestly she should confess because frankly it is the right thing to do (and financially the smart thing to do) OR pay. Black, white, brown or yellow, man, woman or child, single mother or not, rich or poor wrong is wrong and injustice is injustice. Actions and words DO have consequences and it is time for her to face hers.

  • Me

    But honest question: How does someone pay that amount of money if they don’t have it? I always wondered this when people get sued.

  • victoria

    I always wondered this, as well. I think they garnish her wages and are able to place leins on her properties. But that will never pay off a huge debt like this.

  • http://www.facebook.com/nieshag Niesha Gourdine

    people like her gives every woman a bad name..

  • Old TImer

    Easy, a prison sentence those men would have gotten should be sufficient, and garnished wages for 20 years thereafter. But you know that never happens… False allegations should equal at least halt of the sentence of the crime in question,

  • http://gravatar.com/mimiandy1683 MimiLuvs

    I agree.
    I remember when Clutch posted an article, a few months ago, about a former high school football star who was sent to prison because a classmate of his purposely, falsely accused him of raping her in a school stairwell. And he managed to use his Facebook page to have her reveal her lie.
    I remember reading comments (all of which) said that the girl (who I believe was 17 years old, at the time of the “rape”) needed to be reprimanded (either imprisoned or having to return the settlement money that she was rewarded from the state) for her false accusation.

  • tina

    She was FIFTEEN yrs old! How does one even get a judgement against a child.

  • Jay Cee

    Most of you making these negative comments, I’d like to know how old you were 26 years ago? Were you around when this happened? Were you old enough to understand WHAT was happening? Well, I was. Those man RAPPED her and did those horrible things to her. Then, SHE was vilified so that they could get away with it – and they did! And now, they are still trying to keep it going. They should be punished for what they have done and what they are doing now.

  • Rupert Murdoch

    I am unfamiliar with the case, and do not know if it is true or not; but I do know these individuals now understand how it feels to be falsely ( if they were,which I doubt) accused. What comes around goes around.

  • Mistress Scorpio (NYC)

    I am commenting to say hello….I am also known as Mistress Scorpio, formerly of NYC…. Just want to introduce myself….I wish you a prosperous New Year;)

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