Twenty-Five Years Later, Tawana Brawley Tracked Down In Virginia And Hit With Roughly $500,000 Bill

250px-al_sharpton_by_david_shankboneTbrawleyWe have periodically discussed the infamous case of Tawana Brawley and Al Sharpton, now a MSNBC host. In 1987, Brawley, a black teenager, falsely accused a prosecutor, a New York police officer and a state trooper of a racist attack and rape. The racial animus was fueled actively by Al Sharpton who sued the case to propelled himself into national fame or infamy. She later recanted and a court ordered damages to be paid by both Brawley and Sharpton — neither of whom paid. Now the falsely accused former Dutchess County prosecutor Steven Pagones has tracked down Brawley living in Virginia and working as a nurse. It is 25 years after the sordid affair was in the national spotlight. He is seeking $190,000 in damages against Brawley, now 40. She is now beginning to pay back the amount due to Pagones.


Brawley delivered 10 checks totaling $3,764.61 as the first payments under a court order. The court ordered the money garnisheed from six months of Brawley’s wages as a nurse there. That is more than Sharpton paid.

In 1987, Sharpton made himself a national figure when he organized protests after Brawley was found inside a plastic bag behind an apartment house in Wappingers Falls, N.Y. She was covered with feces and racial epithets smeared on her body and accused various white men, including Steven A. Pagones, a former Dutchess County assistant district attorney. Sharpton attacked Pagones and the other men with Ms. Brawley’s lawyers, Alton H. Maddox Jr. and C. Vernon Mason.

A grand jury eventually found that the account was a hoax and Pagones successfully sued Sharpton, Maddox, Mason and Brawley. Sharpton has never apologized for his role and failed to pay the damages until various businessmen came forward to pay the damages for him in 2001. As opposed to Brawley, he is not hard to find. He is a host on MSNBC every night. Sharpton’s $66,000 damages were paid by friends, including the late O.J. Simpson lawyer Johnnie Cochran. Yet, an apology is still not forthcoming from Sharpton.

Brawley has now been hit with a demand for payment in Virginia. However, she will now have to pay interest at 9 percent, so the amount is $431,492. It is the height of irony. Sharpton fuels the hoax and stands next to Brawley throughout her lies as these men are destroyed publicly. He then becomes a close adviser to a president, a television host, and media favorite without paying a dime. She however is now looking at half a million dollars in damages.

Brawley is living under a different name: Tawana Vacenia Thompson Gutierrez in Hopewell, Va. and working as a licensed nurse at The Laurels of Bon Air nursing home. Those wages could now be garnished.

Notably, Pagones is saying that he might waive interest — a huge amount of money — if Brawley “fesses up.” That could be embarrassing for Sharpton and MSNBC.

I must confess that I have little sympathy for Brawley or the others. I feel sorry for 28-year-old Fishkill Police Officer Harry Crist Jr., who committed suicide a week after the false charges were made against him, as well as the rest of these men who were demonized in the relentless press conferences and marches by Sharpton and others.

According to some reports, Brawley refused to appear in the Virginia court with a July filing that stated that the court “inferentially sympathizes with the Confederate States of America, would be contrary to the U.S. Constitution and would amount to a ‘badge of slavery.'” The media reports that Maddox is also back and sharing his extreme views on Facebook. The article says that Maddox wrote that “[t]he common law applies to whites . . . The slave code still applies to blacks.”

Source: NY Post

86 thoughts on “Twenty-Five Years Later, Tawana Brawley Tracked Down In Virginia And Hit With Roughly $500,000 Bill”

  1. Malisha

    “Brawley, however, is a person who was in a state of disability (both by age and, obviously, by mental incapacity) when, at age 15, she lied about what happened to her. Nobody has taken a really close look at what particular elements were involved in her behavior when she was 15. Had she been charged with an actual crime she would have had to be tried as a minor and her sentence would have been based on that consideration too.”

    She was never charged with anything. She should have been in jail along with her thieving, lying mother. This judgement is 25 years old. It’s about time she had to pay up. He spent much more in resources trying to hunt her down. This whole thing destroyed a town and many families. The defense even marched across the Bridge in support (protest) of This LIAR.
    She needs to pay up. All the lawyers have made their restitution She started it she needs to finish this by admitting it was a lie. I hope her wages are garnished for life and that this will somehow give some closure to the lives she infected and destroyed.

  2. Magginkat–You were not there. I was there when this came down. It was horrible what she did. She knew exactly what she was doing. If she had just recanted her story all this could have been avoided. She has never appeared at any of her court dates, she ditched town with her mother and changed her name. She may have moved on but many lives were ruined because of her LIE. She even had Bill Cosby, Don King and Mike Tyson, involved. This family needs to be in jail. They have lied and dodged and weaved the last 25 years. He deserves to be paid and I hope he gets every penny. Actually Al Sharpton should pay her bill since he is the one who acuated this whole scam to make a name for himself.

  3. This issue and all the venom and hate that goes with it needs to be put to rest. Buried. Many have suffered by it. We will have to let it go. All people involved need to go on with their lives and do some good for mankind. To wallow in this further cuts everyone off from what positive things can be done for ourselves and others. Let’s rekindle the love that all God’s people should have for each other and all living things created by God.

  4. Wisely, are you out of your cotton-picking mind ???

    “Steven Pagones should apologize to Tawana for his adolescent and vengeful law suit that he recently filed.”

    The lawsuit was filed in 1998. Tawana never showed up — forfeiture judgement. All she had to do was tell the truth — that she was out partying in Crack Alley and hanging out in her old apartment, not being raped by 6 white cops. But she couldn’t bother to show for the 1998 trial so too bad. Pagones has nothing to apologize for. It’s not a vengeful law suit — it’s a moral and principled one.

    Besides, if Tawana had invested the hundreds of thousands of $$$ she got for the scam, she’d have the money to pay him.

    “The family of Harry Crist Jr could discuss civilly and decently with Tawana Brawley the unintended grief that both families feel.”

    Again, are you NUTS ? Harry Crist killed himself and then was smeared as an attacker of Tawana’s, when the crack whore was never even attacked. How the hell does the Crist family being smeared compare to the ‘grief’ that the Brawley’s felt for going along with a scam and making $400,000 off of it ???

  5. Awhitey, Steven Pagones has been very explicit: if Tawana tells the truth, he’ll drop the entire judgement of $490,000. It’s not about a 15-year old afraid of her parents beating the crap out of her, it’s about lying about it years and decades later. What, she’s still afraid at age 41 ??

    This lying tramp ruined his life. He lost his job and his marriage/family — all because this POS and her POS family wanted to play racial politics. The people of Wappinger Falls were slandered and defamed. The AG and Governor and people of Dutchess County were slandered. And NOW you want us all to forgive and forget….and let Al Sharpton continue to attack people like Don Imus on his sins of ‘racial insensitivity” ?????

    Tawana either ‘fesses up or the tramp pays off the judgement. If she can get Maddox or Sharpton or some rich sugar-daddy pimp to pay it off, fine, there’s no law against that. But she’s not getting off.

  6. Every time I see Sharpton ion MSNBC, I remember the Brawley case and his role in it. It’s time for Rev. Al to pay up on behalf of Tawana. Scumbag.

  7. Al Sharpton doesn’t owe the guy anything because Al has friends with big bucks whom paid his tab. I don’t believe any U.S. court can make him pay twice. As far as Tawana Brawley, it was stated many times that she was a child @ the time which is very true. Also factor in she was being abused by he step dad who was a convicted killer. How many of you have ever been so scared of someone that you’d burn your clothes, cut your shoes, put them back on and smear feces over yourself to make a story convincing because you couldn’t take it anymore? She probably planned on running away until it got late and she realized she had no money and nowhere to go but back to the hellhole she came from. She’s guilty of allowing NOT being mature enough at 15 to stop the hurricane these adults created without thoroughly investigating the facts (?). I’m white, and I feel if that the former prosecutor should enjoy the rest of his life. If she’d been a little white girl like my daughter accusing black prosecutor and police of such a crime which later turns out untrue, but with circumstances like the ones I earlier described (abuse, etc.) then I’m sure we’d have different views towards ms. brawley. This guy CANT need the money, so what’s HIS angle? To further embarrass her? To financially destroy her? Is he expecting some rich black person like Beyoncé or Oprah to pay him on her behalf? She hasn’t apologized in a very long time. Neither has Al, but I don’t see him @ MSNBC studio asking Al for an apology. We can act blind and pretend racism is over but it’s very clear what’s going on right there. (no offense to anyone nor taking sides, just stating my point of view) Goodnight

  8. Lots of mistakes here:

    (1) Tawana and her 2 grifter parents went along with the hoax because Sharpton & Co. lined their pockets. Ralph King got a new Cadillac, Glenda Brawley got several thousand dollars a week (which she never paid taxes on). Tawana got a $35,000 Rolex and made tens of thousands speaking on college campuses. Glenda Brawley claims she was cheated because Sharpton only gave her $300,000 and she was promised $1 million if she went along with the hoax.

    (2) Sharpton lied repeatedly, defaming anybody who spoke the truth: the Democratic AG, the police, the FBI, the medical experts. He made up stories about 1-armed rapists, DNA on Tawana, etc.

    (3) Remember, this was ALL a like by Tawana and her mother to fool her drunken, drug-addict step-father who had murdered his 1st wife 15 years earlier. The problem was that Glenda Brawley’s sister (Tawana’s aunt) thought that it REALLY happened and called WCBS-2 in NY right after Thanksgiving. On a slow news night, it caught the attention of the FBI.

    Bingo….they were caught in a lie and decided better to run with it than tell the truth.

    Oh, yeah, the lie wasn’t new. Seems that Tawana got the lie from a school friend who used the same “I was raped by a couple of white men” but when the police went to her house the mother told the cops here daughter was a notorious liar and mentally disturbed. They let her off with a warning and that was it.

    Glenda Brawley was going to ‘fess up. She was going to talk to the Special Prosecutor and tell the truth. But then at the last minute she cancelled on the ‘advice’ of Sharpton, Maddox, and Mason. No doubt they told her to continue the con and if it disrupted her life, they’d make sure she was properly compensated.

    Put them all in jail.

  9. When I read the comments saying why is Pagones tracking down Brawley my answer is why not. This theiving liar along with Sharpton tried to smear men who did nothing but get in Al’s way so Al had to make them pay!!! Pagones should make Brawley pay and also get a PR firm and go after Sharpton. This race pimp along with Jackson, Lemont “Sanford” Hill, Malik Shabazz, and the occupier of the oval office need to be exposed. Not only to whites, but to blacks for misleading them.

  10. I think reading the court’s actual opinion on the case is instructive. http://www.nycourts.gov/press/old_keep/brawley.htm
    It is obvious that Brawley’s age was taken into account by the court, and they were willing to allow for the same arguments that some of you were making..except for the fact that she was an adult when the defamation trial took place, and still would not tell the truth, and continued to insist that she was a “heroine” despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. The court points out that her actions cost the system more than a million dollars and 12 jurors 8 months of their lives.. In addition to the fact that the prosecutor she falsely accused had his marriage fall apart. Horrible. She deserves to pay every penny, and damn straight that the same prosecutor would ask her to tell the truth, finally. For all that her lies cost him and others, it’s the least she can do.

  11. @Jess……..do say. Is that some of that famous Christianity showing? “She was and is scum”? Are you trying to tell us that you have followed this woman for all these years and know all her personal details? Ruined your lives? Were you a victim or just a nosey busy body who knew someone who knew someone………..?

  12. As a former resident of the village of Wappingers and knowing first hand what this mess did to so many innocent people I hope Pagones makes her pay the interest. She may have been 15 but she was and is scum, along with her parents and Sharpton. These lies ruined lives. Our court system felt it necessary for her to pay at 15 and she hasn’t why should she be let out just because so much time has passed? Our system failed in letting this go NOT Pagones. You are just as ignorant as her if you think she should be off the hook for what she did to our town and all the people involved!

  13. Tawana Brawley should apologize to Steven Pagones for her teenage theatrics of the late 1980’s Steven Pagones should apologize to Tawana for his adolescent and vengeful law suit that he recently filed. The family of Harry Crist Jr could discuss civilly and decently with Tawana Brawley the unintended grief that both families feel .
    There is something terribly amoral and misogynitic of the behaviors of some groups , who are quick to take advantage of a situation by making sure the “culprit ” will never have an opportunity to better herself .

  14. Sharpton is correct in what he says about many of the targets of his criticism, and many who criticize Sharpton are correct in what they say about him. Thus it usually goes when there is a really big, stinking, corrupt criminal enterprise going on and there are people opposing it from all sides of everywhere, the good, the bad and the ugly. Brawley, however, is a person who was in a state of disability (both by age and, obviously, by mental incapacity) when, at age 15, she lied about what happened to her. Nobody has taken a really close look at what particular elements were involved in her behavior when she was 15. Had she been charged with an actual crime she would have had to be tried as a minor and her sentence would have been based on that consideration too.

    About the suicide of a falsely accused cop, all I can say is that with the high numbers of people who are falsely accused BY the cops, one has to admit that there is injustice in what happened to that man but also that the system was not equipped to prevent it.

    Brawley was the kind of villain all the powerful love to make an example of: she is as unlikely to come up with qualified defenders now as she was when she got herself into the situation where she flung herself into the Hall of Shame.

  15. @bettykath

    Let’s stay with the facts, shall we?

    Pagones was required to prove defamation by clear and convincing evidence. As Justice Hickman observed, the Grand Jury heard from 180 witnesses, saw 250 exhibits and recorded over 6,000 pages of testimony.

    “It is inconceivable, even to lay persons without medical expertise such as those serving on the jury, that Brawley, a fifteen year old, could have been repeatedly raped and sodomized in two ways by six men over a four day period without significant physical evidence to support her allegations. The extensive cross-examination of those who treated and those who observed Brawley after she was discovered produced nothing of substance to sustain these allegations. [¶]

    “Defendants were all afforded broad opportunity to examine former Assistant Attorney General Ryan and to otherwise attack the efficacy of the Grand Jury report. In fact, the Court also signed a subpoena presented by Maddox for the appearance of Michael Baden, an expert in forensic pathology who testified before the Grand Jury. At the last moment, that subpoena was withdrawn. No other expert witnesses were called by Mason or Maddox to contradict the analyses of the various experts presented to the Grand Jury. Among these were psychological opinions, including one by Dr. Park Elliott Dietz, a forensic psychiatrist and professor of behavioral medicine and psychiatry at the University of Virginia. In the report at page 115, it is stated that ‘Dr. Dietz concluded that Tawana Brawley’s physical appearance when she was found is consistent with self-infliction and a false allegation.’ [¶]

    “One thing is certain, that Brawley did not foresee that Mrs. Joyce Lloray, a neighbor, would be observing her sneak around the corner of the building opposite the Lloray apartment, climb into the garbage bag and lie down. Mrs. Lloray was judged by this Court and obviously by the trial jury as well as the Grand Jury to be an extremely credible witness with no reason to testify to anything other than what she saw and observed. It was her call to the Dutchess County Sheriff, out of concern for Brawley’s welfare, which detailed her observations.”

    At trial, Sharpton did not urge that Brawley’s allegations were true, instead he argued that he had a First Amendment right to say whatever ridiculous things came into his mind, including naming Pagones as a brutal rapist.

    http://www.nycourts.gov/press/old_keep/brawley.htm

    http://www.nytimes.com/1988/10/07/nyregion/we-the-grand-jury-text-of-its-conclusions-in-the-tawana-brawley-case.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm

  16. Thank you for posting this. Like mespo727272, I lived in a nearby town (Beekman-Poughquag) at the time the story broke. It was awful for many reasons, but a 15-year-old’s error (encouraged by grown men who may or may not have known the truth) poisoned race relations even more in an area that already had race problems. All the revelations (and misunderstandings about facts) gave shelter to many who then felt empowered to spew racial insults against African Americans. It’s a tragedy from which the region still has not recovered.

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