Tawana Brawley, who more than two decades ago triggered a wave of racial tension across the nation by falsely accusing six white men of raping her
, is beginning to pay the damages she owes to Steven Pagones, one of the men she accused of attacking her
Slapped with a court order in February to pay the seemingly insurmountable debt of $431,492 she owes Pagones, Brawley has begun making payments in the form of $627 per month in wage garnishments, the New York Post reported
Now residing in Hopewell, Va., the 41-year-old single mother has been living under the assumed name of Tawana Vacenia Thompson Gutierrez and working as a licensed nurse at a nursing home in nearby Richmond.
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In 1987, a 15-year-old Brawley was found covered in feces with racial epithets written all over her body in a dumpster in Wappingers Falls, N.Y.
At the time, she accused six white men of having raped her left her in the dumpster.
One year later, a grand jury, after hearing the evidence presented in the case, concluded that Brawley was not a victim of a forcible sexual assault, and had possibly been responsible for creating the appearance of an attack.
Despite the grand juries conclusion, Brawley still contends the incident was not made up.
Pagones, a former Dutchess County prosecutor who lost his job and his wife after the false charges were made against him, subsequently sued Brawley for defamation and was awarded $431,492 in damages.
"For at least 25 years, she has been living a major lie," Pagones told the New York Post
in an interview earlier this year. "I look at this as another opportunity for her to tell the truth. . . 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."
Pagones is now principal owner of a private investigations firm, the Post reported.
The former Dutchess County prosecutor also successfully sued current MSNBC host Al Sharpton in a civil suit for the role he played in defamation to his character.
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Sharpton, who at the time wasn't known outside New York City, was among several prominent black leaders who came to Brawley's defense and accused Pagones of committing the crime.
In 1998, Sharpton was ordered to pay $65,000 to Pagones for the damage he caused him.
Sharpton refused to pay the debt, which was later settled by his benefactors, such as O.J. Simpson lawyer Johnnie Cochran and others.
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