More than two decades after triggering a wave of racial tension across the nation by falsely accusing six white men of raping her, Tawana Brawley was slapped with a court order for failing to pay $431,492 she owes one of the victims of her hoax.
"For at least 25 years, she has been living a major lie," former Dutchess County prosecutor Steven Pagones told the New York Post
Pagones, who was one of the six falsely accused of raping Brawley in 1987 and leaving her in a dumpster covered in feces with racial epithets written all over her, said he would consider waiving the money if Brawley admits to making up the incident.
"There is a feeling of unfinished business to it," said Pagones, having lost his job at the Dutchess County prosecutor's office and seeing his wife leave him as a result of the false charges.
"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," concluded Pagones, who is now principal owner of a private investigations firm.
A 1988 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.
Fronted by current MSNBC host Al Sharpton
, who at the time wasn't known outside New York City, and several other prominent black leaders
, Brawley's defenders accused Pagones of committing the crime.
Responding to Pagones' claim that the allegations were untrue, Townhall.com
reports Sharpton as saying: "We stated openly that Steven Pagones did it. If we're lying, sue us, so we can go into court with you and prove you did it. Sue us -- sue us right now."
In 1998 Pagones did just that and successfully sued Sharpton for defamation. 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.
Brawley, who was 15 at the time, has since relocated from her hometown of Wappingers Falls in New York to Hopewell, Va., where she was living under the assumed name of Tawana Vacenia Thompson Gutierrez. She is presently working as a licensed nurse at The Laurels of Bon Air, a nursing home in nearby Richmond.
If Brawley does not acknowledge the rape was a hoax and refuses to pay the debt she has been ordered to pay, the 40-year-old single mother could have her salary docked 10 to 25 percent per paycheck, according to Pagones’ lawyer, Garry Bolnick.
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