Tawana Brawley: The Case That Never Dies
20 Years Later, Brawley's Parents Hope To Resurrect the Past
By Dorian Block
Many people in this rural town of just 300 know the story of Tawana Brawley, but most have no idea her family lives among them.
Brawley - whose claims of being raped by a "white cop" shocked the city 20 years ago - has long since turned her back on New York. She changed her name, converted to Islam, moved south and got a bullmastiff "trained to bite" in case someone unwanted comes to visit.
The Daily News tracked her family to Claremont, Va., once one large plantation, now a tiny town of cotton and soybean farms, with a two-room library and post office, but no police department or local newspaper.
In a wide-ranging two-hour interview, Glenda Brawley and Ralph King, Brawley's mother and stepfather, revealed glimpses into her life.
She attended Howard University in Washington, where she could not have a roommate for security reasons.
Like her mother, she works as a nurse. Co-workers at the nursing home that employs her know her by the name listed on her nursing license, Tawana Thompson.
Brawley is not married, her parents say. And 20 years after camera flashes burned her eyes daily, family and friends still know not to take her photo.
Glenda Brawley and her husband have not spoken publicly since a grand jury in 1988 decided there was no evidence their daughter was raped, yet they agreed to talk to The News for one reason: They are adamant that their daughter was raped and the men who did it were never punished.
"I could be looking at the television any day and they say the 'Tawana Brawley hoax,'" King said. "What hoax?"
"How could we make this up and take down the state of New York? We're just regular people," Glenda Brawley said to her husband. "We should be millionaires."