Rape Hoax The Real Crime: Mcalary

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Two days later, on April 28, a story by McAlary ran in The Daily News under the headline “Rape Hoax the Real Crime.” The article instantly conjured memories of the sensational, racially charged case of Tawana Brawley, a black teenager who, in 1987, falsely accused a gang of white men of raping her. (Jane Doe is African-American, and described her assailant as black. He was never caught.) In the ensuing uproar, Police Commissioner William J. Bratton apologized for police leaks that had cast doubt on the woman’s account, which was backed up by undisputed medical evidence, including severe bruising. Undeterred, McAlary, stubbornly recycling a good story — a copycat rape hoax made for a better story than the horror of a real rape — proceeded…show more content…
“I wanted the media to go away. I did not understand the back and forth between the police and McAlary. I thought it would end.” A longtime First Amendment lawyer, I took on Jane Doe’s case and found myself suing the press, for one of the only times in my career. During our deposition of McAlary, he admitted that he never once contacted Jane Doe or any witness to the crime. He also admitted that — despite describing in detail the location of the rape in one of his articles, to argue why it was impossible for Jane Doe to have been raped and not seen by nearby joggers — he never went to the rape site. He also admitted that he never read the police, lab and hospital reports whose findings he incorrectly described. As McAlary was writing his columns, several of his colleagues warned their editors that some of their police contacts were disputing the accuracy of his accounts. During the weeks after McAlary’s articles, about 30 members of the Daily News staff gave the newspaper’s editors a petition labeling the columns “a disgrace” and demanding that the paper apologize to Jane Doe and to “all of our readers.” It did not happen. In fact, McAlary bragged about his courage in sticking to his

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