Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Indicators of False Accusations (Updated)

Originally published November 28, 2006, this post has been updated to reflect subsequently released information and Durham Chief of Police Steve Chalmers' attempt to pretend that Crystal Mangum outsmarted his investigators with her transparently false accusations.

The National Center for Women and Policing, a division of the Feminist Majority Foundation, provides training, and training materials, to law enforcement agencies with the intention of improving the ability of these agencies to response effectively to sexual assault crimes. Among their many informative and instructive publications, is a training manual entitled, “Unfounded Cases and False Accusations.” Examination of this training manual casts further aspersions on both the validity of the Duke Hoax accuser’s claims, the failure of investigators under the direction of Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong to critically inspect those frail accusations, and recent statements made by Durham Chief of Police Steve Chalmers suggesting that Crystal Mangum offered consistent and credible accusations that outsmarted his investigators.
This training manual is designed, primarily, to discourage law enforcement agencies and officers from viewing allegations of sexual assault from a perspective of suspicion that accusations are often unfounded or false. The first eighteen pages of this law enforcement training manual provides a compelling and persuasive argument for why all accusations of sexual assault require acceptance on face value, initially. To help these agencies identify potentially false accusations, the manual concludes with a six page appendix, “Indicators and Investigation of False Allegations,” which outlines the common characteristics of false accusations. The concluding appendix suggests that an allegation should only be considered skeptically when many of the common characteristics of false allegations are found. In total, the National Center for Women and Policing training manual suggests twenty-nine common characteristics of false allegations, nearly all of which were manifested by Crystal Mangum and ignored by Chalmers' investigators.
Rightfully, the manual cautions:

“An allegation should only be considered suspect when many of the indicators are present, and it should only be determined to be false when the investigative facts directly contradict the victim’s account of events.”

Comparison of these indicators to the circumstances surrounding the Hoax reveal clearly that Chalmers' investigators had overwhelming reason to conclude Mangum's accusation were false. By our count, as many as twenty-five of the twenty-nine indicators noted by the training manual appear to be present within the hoax initiator’s accusations and the surrounding circumstances. Further, it has been demonstrated on multiple occasions, here and elsewhere, that nearly all of the investigative facts, most of which were available to Chalmers' investigators prior to duping the Grand Jury, directly contradict the “victim’s” account of events. By following the suggestion offered above, not only should the allegations have been considered suspect but also they should have been determined to be false in the course of an honest investigation.
While many of the items presented in the comparison that follows have only recently been made known to the public, all of the demonstrable commonalities between the Hoax and the indicators were either known to investigators prior to the Grand Jury dates or could have been discovered in the course of a thorough pre-indictment investigation. One would think that with 25 of 29 red flags going up, the false accuser's story would be approached with a bit of skepticism. Instead, Durham Police and DA Nifong ignored the cautions that one would expect even the least competent of investigators to pick up on while relying on the following departures from logic to justify their mutual dismissal of the possibility that the accusations were false:

"Nifong dismissed that theory, saying a hoax would have to include faking injuries to the woman's body..."If this is all a hoax that was ... designed to get the lacrosse team ... what other major lacrosse program is behind that hoax? The presumed motivation would be to end the season of the Duke lacrosse team, and that's obviously been accomplished," Nifong said. "Seriously, when you think about it, who would be motivated to do a hoax like that? What possible reason would somebody have to do that?" N&O

“The only information we had was the information that we had gotten from [Crystal Magnum]… and at the point we did go into the grand jury, [Mangum’s] accounts were consistent up to that point.” Steve Chalmers

Following his Declaration of Innocence, Attorney General Roy Cooper noted with disdain the failure of the DA and DPD to challange the false accusations:

Attorney General Cooper says he's appalled that Nifong didn’t challenge her about that. "We can't see where she was ever asked the tough questions." CBS

Perhaps, Nifong was simply waiting for the final four indicators to present themselves before deciding the investigation had reached the stage where an accusation that screams "Hoax!" demanded to be questioned as such.

"I've had conversations with (the accuser) about how she's doing. I've had conversations with (the accuser) about her seeing her kids," Nifong said. "I haven't talked with her about the facts of that night. ... We're not at that stage yet." BayNews9

Chalmers' admits that neither his investigators nor his top brass questioned the decision to proceed with the false charges.

Well no we never did say that [“Look we need to take a second look at this case, we don’t have a case here” to Defendant Nifong] Again because again at the point in time that we went before the Grand Jury we presented to the Grand Jury the information and evidence that we had. Keeping in mind we had actually sought information, as we indicated in our report, that we had sought exculpatory evidence from the defense attorneys and we had none … They didn’t give it to us. WRAL

Some Nifong apologists and agenda motivated opportunists argued for thirteen months that the false accusations deserved their day in court, to be decided upon by a jury of twelve citizens, yet in reality what was dictated by the situation, as evidenced by the comparison to follow, was that these allegation be viewed from a perspective of doubt and suspicion. Chalmers, with his suggestion that his investigators were justified in pitching the transparently false accusation to the Grand Jury while withholding evidence of factual innocence, echoes the rabid pleas of the "On with the trial" mob.

Quite clearly, either the investigators directed by District Attorney Nifong were outsmarted by Crystal Mangum, as Chalmers would like people to believe, or the investigators were willfully led astray, as evidenced by the deception employed by Chalmers to argue for incompetency. It is entirely inexcusable that accusations which presented themselves as nearly perfect textbook models of what is defined by this training manual as accusations deserving of suspicion were never evaluated as potentially false until honest prosecutors from the Attorney General's office replaced Defendant Nifong.

Comparison of the Twenty Nine Indicators of False Accusations to the Hoax

1. The falsely accused will often be “a stranger, a “slight acquaintance,” [or] a “friend of a friend.”

“…a woman hired to dance at a Duke University lacrosse team party claimed that members of the team raped her…” NYT

2. The false accuser will often claim “to have fought with all their ability. They typically report punching, kicking, and scratching their assailants until they are themselves finally overpowered.”

“…the woman has said that she effectively tried to fight them off, that she broke off some of her nails in the process…” MSNBC

“According to the application for a search warrant, the woman recalls being "hit, kicked and strangled. … She tried to defend herself, but was overpowered." ABC

“She was allegedly dragged into a bathroom, beaten, choked and sodomized by three assailants as she fought back.” Final Call

3. The false accuser will likely “bolster an inability to resist by claiming they were attacked and raped by more than one person.”

“She ended up in the bathroom with five guys who forced her to have intercourse and perform sexual acts...She later stated that she was penetrated by all five of the guys.” Durham Police officer Gwendolyn Sutton

“The female was picked up at the Kroger on Hillsborough Rd., and she was claiming
that she was raped by approximately 20 white males at 610 N. Buchanan Street."

This police report dated March 14, 2006 lists the number of suspects as two: BlueLineRadio

“The woman identified four players as her assailants.” N&O

"In the police statement she describes the rape in this way. 'Three guys – three guys
grabbed Nicky,' that's you. 'Brett, Adam, and Matt grabbed me. They separated us
at the master bedroom door while we tried to hold on to each other.” CBS

"The woman who says she was raped by three members of Duke's lacrosse team also told police 10 years ago she was raped by three men, filing a 1996 complaint claiming
she had been assaulted three years earlier when she was 14." NBC17

4. The “pseudo-victim claims the assailant was exceptionally large or powerful and able to overcome her resistance with relative ease.”

“In Officer Himan’s handwritten notes, the woman described all three as chubby or heavy. Adam: “white male, short, red cheeks fluffy hair chubby face, brn.” Matt: “Heavy set short haircut 260-270.” Bret: “Chubby.” NYT

5. A false accusation will “include the face-saving element of either having resisted or having been confronted with a situation that made resistance impossible.”

“The victim stated that she tried to leave, but the three males (Adam, Bret, and Matt) forcefully held her legs arms and raped and sexually assaulted her anally, vaginally and orally. The victim stated she was hit, kicked, and strangled during the assault. As she attempted to defend herself, she was overpowered.” TJN

6. “The report of rape is not seen by false claimants as requiring collateral reports of oral or anal sex, unless such acts are included in the person’s sexual repertoire.”

"Specifically, defendants say that another rectal swab of the woman who filed the charges against them revealed the presence of DNA from at least two males that did not match the defendants." ABC

"DNA Security discovered the DNA of at least two males in the accuser's rectum that did not match the Defendants, their lacrosse teammates, or anyone else who provided a reference sample." Addendum to Motion to Compel Discovery: Expert D.N.A. Analysis

7. “Under-describing of the attack may be another manifestation of the false claimant’s naiveté as to what actually occurs in these crimes.”

8. "Women who make false allegations seem to more frequently report that they had their eyes closed at the time, that they “passed out” and do not recall the penetration, or that they cannot recall the specifics of the actual sex act itself."

“Well, if you are being forced to have sex against your will, you may not necessarily notice whether or not somebody behind you is using a condom. This was not a consensual sex situation. This was a struggle, wherein she was struggling just to be able to breathe. So I'm not sure that she would really have much way of knowing whether a condom was being used.” Mike Nifong

"In dropping the rape charges, Nifong filed court papers that said the accuser told an investigator Thursday that she is no longer certain whether she was penetrated vaginally with the men's penises, as she had claimed earlier." FOX

9. "The accuser “may also provide an emotionless, but exquisitely detailed, description of the event. She must either “invent” the acts she alleges, or she must convert a consensual sexual experience into a “rape.” Unable to recount objectively something that was done to her, she tends either to become vague and evasive or to cross the cultural barrier and become overly descriptive."

“In a motion filed on September 20, District Attorney Mike Nifong states that the Duke Hoax accuser has the “ability to recall in great detail the events prior to and during” her alleged assault.” LS

10. "False complainants do not usually present serious physical injuries."

"when she told police she had been raped, doctors at Duke Hospital noted that the woman had two scratches on her right knee and a short scratch on her right heel. None of the scratches were bleeding. Other than diffuse swelling in her vagina, the doctors documented no other injuries." N&O

“The woman was seen in the Duke Hospital emergency room the morning of March 14...She reported that she was in excruciating pain, rating it a 10 on a scale of 1 to 10. Nurses and doctors, however, found no obvious discomfort and no associated symptoms of pain, such as grimacing, sweating, or changes in vital signs or posture.” N&O

11. "However, as one moves along the continuum of personal pathology, the extent of self-inflicted harm can increase."

“The second dancer in the Duke University lacrosse rape case told a television interviewer Monday that after she and the accuser left a team party, the accuser wanted to have marks on her body.” N&O

12. "False victims who have injured themselves tend to exhibit an unusually wide array of wounds. In spite of this, extremely sensitive organs or tissues such as the eyes, nipples, lips, or genitalia are almost never injured."

TRAVIS: "Well, I could see the bruises on her face. She had a scratch on her arm. And then I didn`t know the whole -- you know, the whole detail what went on, because she was feeling bad at the time. And she also said her leg was hurting."

GRACE: Well, you know what? I can understand that. I can understand that. Sir, you said you saw bruises on her face. Where were they?

TRAVIS: Right up under her eyes, and her jaw was swollen.

GRACE: And where was the scratch on her arm?

TRAVIS: It was on her right arm, I believe it were.

GRACE: Where, above or below the elbow?

TRAVIS: It was between the wrist and her elbow. Grace

“The S.A.N.E nurse's physical examination of the pelvic area of Crystal Mangum, which included the Vulva, Vagina, Cerix, Fundus and Rectal areas, noted only "diffuse edema of the vaginal walls." The S.A.N.E. nurse's report contains no opinion or conclusion that [the accuser] had signs, symptoms, and injuries consistent with beigh raped and sexually assaulted vaginally and anally." TJN

“Well, here's the problem: Edema, diffuse or otherwise, is not an injury. It is the body's response to an injury, an infection, or a disease or inflammatory process of some sort. It can be caused by any number of things.” Forensic Talk

13. "Characteristic of pseudo-victims who injure themselves is their tendency to be strangely indifferent to their wounds. They appear to accept their injuries with a degree of nonchalance not found in people who sustain similar injuries at the hands of others."

“On March 17, the woman showed Thomas a hospital bracelet and paperwork. While she talked about being owed money, the accuser never gave any word or indication of being hurt, he said.” N&O

14. “The consistency or inconsistency of the evidence may suggest that a rape complaint has been exaggerated or is completely false. An absence of the kinds of evidence usually associated with rapes can sometimes be as revealing in identifying false allegations as its presence is in establishing that a rape has actually taken place.”

"First of all, we're talking about 46 different people (who were tested). … Most experts will say (condoms aren't) going to prevent an exchange of DNA. And, also, the nature of the alleged rape was more than just simple sex. There was violence involved, there was touching. And, if that was the case, there would be some DNA present." CBS

“...the only evidence of physical trauma the S.A.N.E nurse in training could find on [the accuser] was a scratch on her knee and a small laceration to her heel, both of which were non-bleeding.”

“ [the accuser] told the S.A.N.E. nurse in training that she was not choked; that no condoms, fingers or foreign objects were used during the alleged sexual assault; and that the S.A.N.E. nurse in training noted that [the accuser's] head, neck, throat, mouth, chest, breasts, addomen, and upper and lower extremities all were normal even though [the accuser] complained of "tenderness" over her body.” TJN

Lacking any "scientific or other evidence independent of the victim's testimony" to corroborate that aspect of the case, the district attorney said in court papers, "the state is unable to meet its burden of proof with respect to this offense." AP

15. “Complainant cannot recall where the crime took place even though she does not report being blindfolded, under influence of drugs or alcohol, or moved from location to location.”

“'Her statements are inconsistent about which bathroom it occurred in.” Gaynor

“Her accounts diverged widely on details of sexual contact, physical assault, alcohol consumption and the behavior of Kim Roberts, the second dancer, whom the accuser called "Nikki." N&O

16. "Crime scene does not support story."

“Defense attorney Bill Thomas said authorities found none of the alleged victim's DNA in the bathroom where she told police she was attacked.” ABC

“None of the woman's DNA was found on the floor, rugs or towels in the bathroom where the rape allegedly occurred.” N&O

17. "Damage to her clothing is inconsistent with any injuries she reports (i.e., cuts or scratches inconsistent with tears or cuts in clothing)."

"A member of the defense team, who also spoke on condition of anonymity because the defense is working with players who could still be indicted, showed photos to the AP on Wednesday that show the accuser on the back porch of the off-campus house, with her clothing intact. She is smiling and looking through her purse. "

"The defense team member said the digital photos were taken at 12:30 a.m., citing an electronic time-stamp known as metadata." ABC

18. "Complainant presents cut-and-paste letters allegedly from the rapist in which death or rape threats are made."

19. "Note or letter is identifiable with pseudo-victim (via handwriting analysis, indented writing, typewriter comparison, paper stock, or fingerprint comparison)."

20. "Confirming laboratory findings are absent."

TL: "No DNA that matched the players was found on or within or on the surface of the accuser's body or any of her belongings or clothing. Not even under her fingernails. You can listen to the defense attorneys' news conference here. They say the findings show there is no evidence that any sexual activity occurred in that house on that night. If you re-read what she said happened, it is an impossibility."(video)

Defense attorneys have insisted all the players are innocent, citing DNA tests they say found no match between any of the team's white players and the accuser. According to defense attorneys, second, more detailed DNA tests came back Friday and prove no player had sex with the dancer — but that the accuser had sex with another man. Attorney Joseph Cheshire said the tests showed genetic material from a "single male source" was found on a vaginal swab taken from the accuser, but that material did not match any of the players. "In other words, it appears this woman had sex with a male," said Cheshire, who spoke at a news conference with other defense attorneys in the case. "It also appears with certainty it wasn't a Duke lacrosse player." CBS

21. "In false rape allegations, extensive and important information on the complainant is often available. In general, this information suggests that the pseudo-victim has experienced numerous personal problems and that her ability to cope is seriously impaired."

"This request is based on the fact that the complaining witness has a history of criminal activity and behavior, which includes alcohol abuse, drug abuse and dishonesty, all conduct which indicate mental, emotional and/or physical problems, which affect her credibility as a witness," the defense said in court papers. ABC

22. "In temporal sequence, the “rape” follows one or more escalating incidents revealing difficulties in her personal relationships."

On March 11, Haynes said, a couple came into the club and the accuser, who danced under the name "Precious," started pulling the female customer's hair. Someone complained, and Haynes said she told the accuser to go to the bathroom. When Haynes followed, she found the accuser naked and passed out cold, she said. Someone called the woman's boyfriend, and it took four people to get her outside
to the car. N&O

23."Complainant has history of mental or emotional problems."

“Medical records in police files show that doctors had previously diagnosed depression and bipolar disorder.” NYT

One physician wrote, "Due to the patient's long psychological history, she is at very high risk of narcotic abuse, and at clinic, we have recommended not to prescribe the patient any narcotics." N&O

“Upon information and belief, the complaining witness has suffered from mental and
emotional problems for a portion of her life and based on the presently known facts of this case and the criminal history of the complaining witness, there is a good chance she may have been committed at least once to a hospital or drug treatment program.” MSNBC

24. "Complainant has previous record of having been assaulted or raped under similar circumstances."

"The woman who claims she was raped by three Duke University lacrosse players last month also filed a complaint in 1996 saying she was raped by three other men." Fox

"The mother also told ESSENCE that when her daughter was 17 or 18, she was raped by several men, one of whom was someone she knew." Essence

25. "Allegation was made after a similar crime received publicity (suggesting modeling or “copycat” motive in which the similarity to the publicized crime offers credibility)."

26. "Complainant has extensive record of medical care for dramatic illnesses or injuries."

"The mother of the alleged victim told ESSENCE magazine that her daughter did go away to a hospital in Raleigh, North Carolina, for about a week last year, where she was treated for a 'nervous breakdown." Essence

27. Friends or associates report that the complainant’s postassaultive behavior and activities were inconsistent with her allegation.

"She wasn't – she obviously wasn't hurt or, 'cause she was fine. She wouldn't have went back in the house if she was hurt. She's was fine," Roberts says

"In the days and weeks after the attack the accuser went back to the hospital complaining of neck, back and knee pain she claimed was caused by the rape. 60 Minutes obtained a video of her dancing at a strip club two weeks after the alleged attack. The club manager told 60 Minutes that she had consistently performed her routine normally." CBS

The video segment, about a minute long, shows the woman, introduced as Precious, as she approached a floor-to-ceiling pole on a stage, dressed in a thong and skimpy top. She grasped the pole and lowered herself into a squatting position, so that her buttocks almost touched the floor. With her hands on the floor, she stretched out her right leg vertically, as though she was kicking to the ceiling while squatting, and waved her leg several times to either side of the pole. N&O

"The trip in that car from the house … went from happy to crazy," Roberts told Cuomo. ABC

"Four days after she said she was raped, the accuser in the Duke lacrosse case told co-workers at a Hillsborough strip club that she was going to get money from some boys at a Duke party who hadn't paid her, the club's former security manager said."

"The accuser never gave any indication that the party was a bad time, let alone that she was assaulted or raped, Thomas said."She was as regular as pie," Thomas said. "She didn't do anything different."

"The other girls would have known if something had happened," Thomas said. Thomas said dancers must sign in when they take guests into the club's VIP room. He said those sheets show that the woman had signed in March 17 and 18. The club's owner, Victor Olatoye, said the club's records show the woman was dancing at the club March 23, 24, 25 and into the early hours of March 26." N&O

"She was regular. She danced like she always danced, good old Precious." N&O

28. Complainant becomes outraged when asked to corroborate her victimization.

At one point, the woman threatened to drop the case if her family continued to talk to the media, he said. N&O

29. Complainant tries to steer the interview into “safe” topics or those that tend to engender sympathy.

"I've had conversations with (the accuser) about how she's doing. I've had conversations with (the accuser) about her seeing her kids," Nifong said. "I haven't talked with her about the facts of that night. ... We're not at that stage yet."

Nifong said he met with the accuser and an investigator on April 11, but didn't discuss details of the case because the woman was "too traumatized." Nifong said the woman didn't make eye contact with him and often seemed on the verge of crying. Their discussion centered around how the case would develop, he said.

"She probably did not speak 15 words during the meeting," Nifong said. SFGate

"The woman spoke for an hour. She talked about her life — joining the Navy and moving to California shortly after finishing high school, marrying a man 14 years her senior, becoming pregnant by a sailor, returning home to North Carolina and getting divorced" NYT


  1. Anonymous7:41 PM

    Carolyn says:

    Crystal scored 25 out of 29?

    Gee, which one of those points was for trying to kill a cop with a stolen car?

  2. Fantastic job. How I wish I could see Nifong, Gottlieb, Chalmers et al on the stand being grilled on all these points and twisting, twisting in the wind...

  3. Anonymous10:01 AM

    .....and no charges have been filed against Mangum?
    She was given a free ride because she is black!

  4. Anonymous11:52 AM

    The fine is $500.00 for her false claim. Not worth the time to persue. Interesting that Chalmers reports "all we had was Crystal's claim". Where does Nurse Levicy come into this? I would think they would all be singing "I heard it on the grape vine..."

  5. Anonymous2:30 PM

    You guys are the best. You leave no stone unturned in your effort to pull off the covers and turn on the lights. Please continue to investigate and expose all these charlatans.

  6. Actually, 10:01, I think she was probably given a free ride because she's too far out of her fucking mind. Well, that and the scope of the penalty she was facing compared to the effort it would have taken to pursue it.