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A superb new book shows how trumped-up charges exposed faults in some of America's grandest institutions.
ON THE night of March 13th 2006, 47 lacrosse players at Duke University, North Carolina, paid a couple of strippers to entertain them. Things went badly from the start. The girls arrived late. One of them, Crystal Mangum, was so drunk that she could not utter a coherent sentence. Her “dance” lasted four minutes. But over the next few days a sordid evening mutated into a life-ruining tragedy. Ms Mangum alleged that some of the players had beaten and gang-raped her. And the full force of the American legal system and media machine was deployed against a group of young men who were presumed to embody all the evils of America's demons of racism and sexism. The students Ms Mangum accused are white: Ms Mangum is black.
The accusation was a transparent lie from the start.