In 2006, a black mother of two, Crystal Mangum, accused various white Duke University lacrosse players of raping, sodomizing, strangling, and beating her in a small bathroom during a house party. She was one of two strippers the players hired for the party.
The story rang false to me from the beginning. As I read more about the circumstances, it became obvious she was lying.
The facts revealed Mangum had lied. In the end, Mike Nifong, the district attorney who brought the rape charges, was disbarred and convicted of contempt of court. Roy Cooper, North Carolina’s attorney general, exonerated the three indicted men.
(Mangum is serving 14 to 18 years in prison on an unrelated second-degree murder conviction of killing her boyfriend.)
Fast-forward to 2015. I read the Rolling Stone story about a woman named Jackie Coakley, a student at the University of Virginia (UVA), who claimed that seven men pledging the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity gang-raped her. She said they forced her into a “pitch-black” room, and one of them “barreled” into her. They both fell on a glass table and broke it, and the men took turns raping her on top of the broken glass. All part of an initiation. Again, it rang false.
Can you imagine in this day and age a fraternity actually gang-raping women as part of an initiation, and nobody reports the rapes to the police? Nobody’s even gossiping about them? The police say they found no evidence Coakely was raped.
As they did with the Duke case, mainstream media and other liberals jumped on this man-bites-dog story. The narrative was that white men on campus go around raping women (including “poor” black women stripping to feed their children) like it’s a sport. Liberals bemoaned the rape “epidemic” and condemned men with no proof. In fact, both scenarios read like rape fantasies. I said as much during the Duke lacrosse fiasco. Mangum even had a history of accusing men of gang-raping her.
Mangum and Coakely didn’t just waste law enforcement resources, their lies impacted the lives of the falsely accused men. Think of their anguish and sleepless nights after being accused of such heinous acts. Think of the lost time and money they spent defending and protecting themselves. The false allegations will always be part of them.
Why do the media play up such brutal rape stories purportedly perpetrated by gangs of white frat boys while ignoring or downplaying more common violent crimes?
Sabrina Rubin Erdely, author of the false rape Rolling Stone article, apologized to her colleagues, readers, the “UVA community,” and actual rape victims, but left out the most important group: the men of Phi Kappa Psi. UVA suspended all fraternities, the falsely accused fraternity received death threats, and people vandalized their house.
(For an account of the magazine’s and Erdely’s due-diligent failures, see Rolling Stone and UVA: The Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism Report.)
Rolling Stone said Erdely will continue to write for the magazine. No one loses his/her job. At least Nifong lost his and his license. By retracting the story and publicly admitting it screwed up, Rolling Stone did the bare minimum. But that isn’t nearly good enough. Phi Kappa Psi intends to sue the magazine. The falsely accused Duke lacrosse players sued and settled with the school and the city of Durham, North Carolina.
God condemns lying not only because it’s against His character, but it’s destructive to the liar and the victims of the lies. Even “good” lies or “little white lies” can be destructive. Try to imagine how a man must feel to be wrongly accused of beating and raping a woman. It must cut to the heart of his integrity and his manhood.
“These six things the Lord hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him: A proud look, A lying tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood, A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that are swift in running to evil, A false witness who speaks lies, And one who sows discord among brethren.” Proverbs 6:16-19