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Monday, April 16, 2007

An Open Memo to Rev. Al Sharpton

This is an Open Memorandum.

First thing I want to say is that I am African American. As a matter of fact, we met in Chicago.

The second thing I want to say is that it is good that you do speak out on issues of people of color. I also want to say that I was very happy that you spoke out on slavery in Sudan. You went there to confirm the reports for yourself. Nat Hentoff of the Village Voice said of you: “Perhaps now the Rev. Al Sharpton's first-person accounts of slavery in Sudan will awaken the media.” You said: “I am outraged that more of us, particularly of the African American leadership, have not talked about the slave trade that I witnessed with my own eyes in the Sudan.”

However, Rev. Sharpton, let’s put this Tawana Brawley thing to rest. (Yes, that again.) She did not tell the truth. To keep on defending her despite the clear facts that she was not raped bites viciously at your credibility. Here are excerpts from the facts from the Court TV website:

“S/A (FBI Special Agent) Malone has examined evidence in approximately fifteen hundred rape cases. Several hundred of those rapes were alleged to have taken place in the woods. In his opinion, it would be impossible for a person to spend any length of time in the woods without picking up a great deal of plant materials on the person or clothing. He stated you would expect to find things like needles, leaves, pieces of wood, twigs and grass fragments. He noted that most rapes take place on the ground. He testified, ‘Normally you're going to find it all over the clothes, many times in the hair of the individual, pubic combings, all over the body, just everywhere.’ S/A Malone found ‘absolutely no plant material.’

“This Grand Jury also considered the other medical and scientific evidence that is detailed more fully in other sections of this report. Despite weather that dipped to the freezing mark several times during the four-day period, Ms. Brawley exhibited no signs of exposure. She was not dehydrated or malnourished; her breath did not have a bad odor. There were no bruises or scuff marks on her body consistent with having been on the ground. The Grand Jury found no evidence consistent with a person having been sexually assaulted in a wooded area and no evidence that Ms. Brawley spent four days or any significant part thereof in a wooded area….

“As noted earlier, FBI Special Agent Michael Malone, an expert in hair and fiber analysis, examined Ms. Brawley's pubic hair combings, fingernail scrapings and clippings, debris removed from her body and hair samples, all of which were recovered during her examination at St. Francis Hospital. He also examined the clothing she was wearing and the items found at the scene. As noted above, he did not find plant materials on Ms. Brawley's body or clothing, which would have been present if she had spent any length of time in the woods. However, he did find hair and fibers that indicated Ms. Brawley's presence in Apt. 19A…..

“Her teeth were clean, and her mouth did not have a bad odor. In her testimony, the emergency room physician noted that a typical person who came into the emergency room having been out in the environment would not have brushed her teeth or have good hygiene of the mouth. This would result in a bad odor, even if the person was out only overnight. Ms. Brawley's good dental hygiene was inconsistent with not having brushed her teeth in three or four days. No evidence of urine was found in Ms. Brawley's mouth….

“The rape kit involved several procedures: 1) wipings and cultures were taken from Ms. Brawley's vaginal area and checked for sperm motility (i.e., sperm that may have been present and moving); this was microscopically examined immediately and no motile sperm was detected, although a white discharge of trichamonas was present.” (http://www.courttv.com/archive/legaldocs/newsmakers/tawana/part2.html#medical)

“[Dr. Justin Uku] would expect to find evidence of exposure, malnutrition and dehydration. He would expect to find evidence of the assault such as physical injury, scrapes, abrasions, bruises on her arms and legs, a black eye, bruises in the mouth if she was slapped, and bruises and scratches in the pelvic area. He would expect to find seminal fluid in the body cavities and on the clothes. He would also expect to find leaves and soil on her body and clothing.

“Dr. Uku examined the medical records, the relevant physical evidence and much of the testimony presented to this Grand Jury. He stated that he found no evidence consistent with an allegation that Ms. Brawley had been repeatedly sexually assaulted over a period of four days by at least three men in a wooded area. It was his expert opinion that the lack of any evidence of physical injury, of sexual contact, of trace evidence of hairs, fibers and plant materials, was inconsistent with an allegation of sexual assault by multiple assailants in a wooded area over a period of four days.”(http://www.courttv.com/archive/legaldocs/newsmakers/tawana/part3.html#sexual)

It has been reported that you said: “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." Did you prove that Pagones raped Tawana Brawley? Did you prove that Pagones was lying? You and the other defendants could not prove he raped her or prove he was lying. A man, who committed no crime, and his family have been disrupted.

The Pagones v. Maddox et al.decision said: “On October 6, 1988, the Abrams Grand Jury released its extensive and thorough 170 page report concluding that Tawana Brawley ("Brawley") had not been abducted, assaulted, raped and sodomized as had been claimed by Brawley and her advisors. The report further concluded that the "unsworn public allegations against Dutchess County Assistant District Attorney Steven Pagones" were false and had no basis in fact. To issue the report, the Grand Jury heard from 180 witnesses, saw 250 exhibits and recorded over 6,000 pages of testimony….

“Meaningful medical evidence that Brawley was raped and as Mason claimed, sodomized in two ways, was totally lacking. It is inconceivable, even to lay persons without medical expertise such as those serving on the jury, that Brawley, a fifteen year old, could have been repeatedly raped and sodomized in two ways by six men over a four day period without significant physical evidence to support her allegations. The extensive cross-examination of those who treated and those who observed Brawley after she was discovered produced nothing of substance to sustain these allegations….

“The Grand Jury’s report indicated a thorough analysis was done of the former Brawley apartment and of Brawley’s clothes and that the tests revealed that she was in the apartment and could have written the racial slurs herself. Materials found in the apartment matched materials found on her person. Since there was no forensic evidence of rape, the Grand Jury found "nothing in regard to Tawana Brawley’s appearance on November 28 that is inconsistent with this condition having been self-inflicted" (Grand Jury report page 168)….

“…No other expert witnesses were called by Mason or Maddox to contradict the analyses of the various experts presented to the Grand Jury. Among these were psychological opinions, including one by Dr. Park Elliott Dietz, a forensic psychiatrist and professor of behavioral medicine and psychiatry at the University of Virginia. In the report at page 115, it is stated that "Dr. Dietz concluded that Tawana Brawley’s physical appearance when she was found is consistent with self-infliction and a false allegation." (www.nycourts.gov/press/old_keep/brawley.htm)

There are many other facts that anyone can lookup on the Internet. Rev. Sharpton, even God cannot change the truth.

Just because the damages were paid by your supporters does not mean the real damage has gone away. The wounds are still festering.

Now all charges were dropped against the three Duke University lacrosse team members. The facts were clear there also they committed no crime. But you accused them of rape with a rush to judgment.

Rev. Sharpton, you once said: “Everybody grows. And I think everybody has certain turning points.” You want people to know you as someone who is committed to truth and justice and you are committed to improving race relations. Here is a turning point for you. I will say publicly that you are a leader who has a commitment to truth and justice and you are committed to improving race relations on these conditions:

· That you publicly admit that the Tawana Brawley story was a hoax. The facts are very clear she fabricated her story. You thought she was telling the truth, but in retrospect you made an error in judgment.
· That you publicly apologize to those you accused of that incident, including Stephen Pagones,
· And, if you have not done it already, that you publicly apologize to the members of the Duke University lacrosse team that you accused of rape. White, Black, Blue, Yellow or Green, they were all innocent.

It is a matter of integrity. It is a matter of closure for many people. Even with all your vast, nationally known accomplishments, there are many people, Black, White, and others, who do not see you as a credible leader because of your stands with Brawley and Duke University Lacrosse Team cases. If you want to lead a credible movement of truth and justice, let it start with yourself.

You said: “We're not willing to give black leaders second chances because, in most cases, we're not willing to give them first chances.” Here is your chance to show your integrity publicly.

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