Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Crystal Gail Mangum goes to prison: did the system fail her victim, Reginald Daye?

There is no celebrating here. Crystal Gail Mangum is going to prison for a long time because she murdered her boyfriend, Reginald Daye. This is a tragedy, and one that might have been avoided if the very serious crime of making a false report were treated seriously.

We have to wonder if the justice system failed Mr. Daye.

Mangum, of course, is best known for falsely accusing three Duke lacrosse players of rape in March 2006. The charges hung over the heads of the innocent young men until April 2007, when North Carolina's attorney general Roy Cooper declared them "innocent."

Mangum was not charged for her heinous lie. Mangum had made a rape accusation similar to the Duke lacrosse allegations in 1996 that was never prosecuted. See here.

So what happened after Mangum got away with her rape lie against the lacrosse players?

Mangum was arrested in February 2010 on charges of attempted murder, arson and child abuse. She was convicted only of misdemeanor charges in connection with that incident and was sentenced to time served.

Then in 2011, she stabbed Mr. Daye to death.

If Ms. Mangum had been properly punished for her rape lie in the Duke case, she would have been in prison at the time she stabbed Mr. Daye to death. Even if she had served a shorter term, a custodial sentence might have deterred her from further criminal wrongdoing. One of the purposes of custodial sentencing is deterrence.

Professor Alan Dershowitz once said this: “Rape is such a serious crime that deliberately bringing a false accusation of rape should be an equally serious crime and women are not being punished for those crimes. I believe that being falsely accused of rape is as traumatic as being raped.”

So why wasn't Ms. Mangum charged? After all, rape cases less compelling are charged.  There is an unfortunate strain of thought among some sexual assault victims' advocates, and among some in our justice system, that charging women for making false rape reports has a chilling effect on the reporting of rape.  There is no evidence for this at all. None.

Yet, a prominent feminist blogger once wrote this: "Well, what do you want the police to do—just let women who make false reports GET AWAY WITH IT?! Yes. That is exactly what I want."

And Lisa Longstaff of Women Against Rape, and Dr. Kim McGregor, director of Rape Prevention Education, and many others, have made it clear they don't want rape liars charged.

The evil attendant to their position is self-evident. Those advocates should have attended the viewing of Reginald Daye -- to see the sorrow on the faces of his family and friends, to learn about his life, his hopes, his dreams, his struggles.

Because if false rape claims were treated the way the "equally serious crime" of rape is treated, Mr. Daye likely would be alive today.