ABOVE PHOTO: Tawana Brawley, witn Rev. Al Sharpton in 1988.
NEW YORK — A black woman who set off a racial firestorm as a teenager after alleging she was raped by a group of white men in 1987 has begun making defamation payments to one of them.
Tawana Brawley has paid just over $3,700 to former county prosecutor Steven Pagones, the New York Post reported (http://bit.ly/14USZiy). Pagones won a claim against her and her advisers, including the Rev. Al Sharpton, after he was named as an attacker.
Brawley, then 15 and living in Wappingers Falls, claimed she had been sexually assaulted by white men who who smeared her with feces and scrawled racial epithets on her body.
The case quickly made headlines and drew the attention of Sharpton, who became an outspoken advocate for the teen.
PHOTO: Steven Pagones, center, speaks to reporters after a jury awarded him $345,000 in damages Wednesday, July 29, 1998, in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., in a defamation lawsuit against three advisers of Tawana Brawley. The Rev. Al Sharpton, Alton Maddox and C. Vernon Mason accused Pagones of raping Brawley, then a teen-ager, in 1987.
(AP Photo/Tim Roske)
A special state grand jury later determined that Brawley had fabricated her claims, perhaps to avoid punishment for staying out late.
Pagones sued Brawley for defamation and won a $185,000 judgment. She now owes him more than $400,000 with interest.
Brawley lives in Virginia and works as a nurse. The Post reported her location in December, and Pagones then filed papers to have her wages garnished for the payments owed him.
Her parents have insisted Brawley’s claim of being raped was true.