Tawana Brawley today. Photo credit: New York Post.

An oddity in the news: Tawana Brawley, the 15-year-old black girl who rocketed to momentary fame in 1987 for making racially charged accusations of rape, has surfaced in the public eye. And she’s living the Richmond area!

Brawley had been laying low, living in Hopewell and working as a nurse at The Laurels of Bon Air in Richmond, reports the New York Post today. Even her co-workers did not equate her with the girl who was found seemingly unconscious, wrapped in a garbage bag  and her body smeared with feces near her home in Wappingers Falls, N.Y. more than 25  years ago.

Brawley created a national sensation when she accused six white men of raping her in racially motivated hate crime. Her cause was taken up by the Rev. Al Sharpton and other activists. But a grand jury concluded that she had never been sexually assaulted and may have concocted the entire incident. One of the men she accused or raping her, Steven Pagones, sued her and her advisors for defamation.

Pagones was unable to collect the $431,000 damages owed him until the Post tracked her down living in Virginia. In January Pagones filed in Surry County Circuit Court to garnish her wages, $627 per month, possibly for the rest of her life.

To all appearances, Brawley has been living a normal life, raising a daughter. The newspaper described her as “defiantly unapologetic” but provided no details.


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11 responses to “Tawana Brawley Surfaces… in Hopewell, of All Places”

  1. ummm.. this has to do with Virginia politics and public policy …how?

  2. DJRippert Avatar

    Ha ha ha. So, NoVa attracts hard working Asians thirsting for knowledge and Richmond attracts Tawana Brawley?

  3. DJRippert Avatar


    If you want a more impressive Richmond resident and local entrepreneur, look no further than Tuffy Stone.

    Hell, I’d even pay Henrico County’s meal tax to eat at his Q BBQ restaurant in Glen Allen.

  4. I’ve never eaten at Tuffy’s place. We’ll have to get you down here some time and check him out — see if he’s as good as people say he is!

  5. Peter Galuszka Avatar
    Peter Galuszka

    Why should we care about this?

  6. Hey… I was FIRST! Oh I can attribute it to is the secret life of Conservatives who truly enjoy salacious accounts of others as much as they like propaganda.


  7. Would you consider it noteworthy if, say, David Duke suddenly surfaced in Virginia, where it turned out he’d been living quietly for years?

    1. Neil Haner Avatar
      Neil Haner

      Alex Rodriguez getting suspended for 200 games is also newsworthy, but you don’t blog about it here because it isn’t the least bit relevant to the blog’s stated mission of “Reinventing Virginia for the 21st Century,” or its description “Bacon’s Rebellion is Virginia’s leading politically non-aligned portal for news, opinions and analysis about state, regional and local public policy.”

      Your words, not mine.

      Now you say “Would you consider it noteworthy if, say, David Duke suddenly surfaced in Virginia, where it turned out he’d been living quietly for years?”

      Well, let’s see, John Hinckley, Jr lives in Virginia, and he tried to kill the President (which I would argue is slightly more serious an offense than what this woman did, but that’s just my POV) but I don’t see you posting about him.

      It’s salacious, it’s race baiting, it gets page clicks and comments (making me also guilty, I know). But it’s not relevant, and you’re better than that.

  8. Neil, I post on race relations in Virginia with some frequency, although it is a subject fraught with delicacy because in our society it takes almost nothing for a conservative white commentator to be condemned for racial insensitivity. So much for encouraging a “dialogue” on race. At present, the dialogue consists of liberals saying, “We do the talking, you do the listening.” I’m surprised that you’re buying into that mindset.

    1. Neil Haner Avatar
      Neil Haner

      I’m not saying that there isn’t value to stories on race relations, race in politics and public debate, etc, as stories on this site. I’ve never complained before. Again, your site is about Virginia and local politics and government, so when race issues cross those spheres, by all means should this site report and comment on it.

      But I think this is a poor example. I am by no means defending ms Brawley. She made a big screw-up, and she’s paying for it. But it was an isolated event, that happened over a generation ago, committed by a MINOR (perhaps the most relevant, but still glossed over fact in all this), in another state.

      She has to live somewhere, she’s allowed to live somewhere. Being a Christian (aren’t all those on the Right supposed to be???), she’s entitled to be forgiven for a big mistake she made **when she was a kid**, and allowed to live her life. She’s not hurting anyone anymore, she’s working and raising her kid (isn’t that what conservatives ask of people?), she’s paying her debt, she’s not asking for the attention by shoving herself in the public sphere, so leave her alone. Otherwise it’s at worst bullying, at the least tabloid journalism.

      1. I don’t disagree with anything you’ve said, and I don’t think my post bullied her in any way. I merely took note of the fact that she now resides in Virginia, and gave a little background for those whose memories are too short to remember who she is.

        She was only 15 years old at the time. She deserves a second chance. As far as we know, she’s led an exemplary life since then. That said, I would be interested to know if she’s repentant for the racially divisive hoax she helped perpetrate. Of course, I don’t hold her as responsible as I hold the rabble rouser who took up her cause, Al Sharpton.

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