Mike Tyson was convicted of raping 18 year old Desiree Washington on July 19, 1991. When it came time to for Tyson to be sentenced, Donald Trump began speaking up.
He wasn’t speaking up to condemn the crime or to make sure his victim, the 18 year old Miss Black America pageant contestant, got justice. He was trying to keep the convicted rapist from going to jail at all.
“Millions and Millions…” Instead of Going to Prison
“Earlier Thursday, entrepreneur Donald Trump made a bizarre proposal that Tyson be allowed to give “millions and millions” of dollars to rape victims instead of going to prison. Indiana prosecutors dismissed the offer.”
It was “Mr. Trump’s Offer”
He was the one who first proposed it publicly. A spokesperson for the prosecutors office referred to it as, “Mr. Trump’s offer.” Over and over newspapers report it as, “Trump’s offer.” (i.e. Indianapolis Star, 19 February 1992, C-1′; Indianapolis Star, “Trump’s Offer”).
An Offer to “Buy Someone out of Prison”
The prosecutor’s office responded to Trump’s offer, saying,
“An offer to buy someone out of prison or out of a sentence is not appropriate,” Smith said.”
Trump responded with something pretty unbelievable. Saying that Tyson didn’t need to go to prison because the bad publicity and criminal trial was punishment enough.
“The Conviction is Already Punitive”
“What has happened to him, the conviction, is already punitive,” Trump said. “The victim has had the satisfaction of humbling him and being vindicated.”
Even Trump Uses the “Buy Yourself Out [of Prison]” Phrase
“The case could be made, well, you shouldn’t be allowed to buy yourself out, as perhaps the prosecutor would say. But a lot more people can benefit by what I’m suggesting than by throwing a man in jail, virtually with no money–because by the time this ends he won’t have any money–by throwing a man in jail, virtually penniless.” (also reported by the Associated Press according to Mother Jones)
He told Newsday,
“But far more people can be helped by allowing the tremendous sums of money from his fights to be put into funds used for rape victims.”
The Victim Whose Name Shouldn’t Have Been Made Public
“Because we fully expect if it hasn’t already started, that it will soon start… that Tyson’s controllers and his hangers on will begin their attack in a smear campaign against a fine young woman that’s been very courageous… and she must steel herself and be strong becuase she is doing it because it is the right thing.” (source)
She wanted to remain anonymous. She wasn’t doing this for the fame. She seemed genuinely concerned that other women would be raped. That this is why she was doing it. And the evidence from both what would happen next, and from the past, shows this was a very rational concern (more here). She later had to get extensive plastic surgery to change her identity.
But Mike Tyson and another person currently campaigning for Donald Trump, Don King, intentionally exposed her name to the whole world. From a news report at the time,
“Reporters at the news conference were surprised when Tyson and Don King repeatedly used the name of the alleged rape victim.” (source)
She was trashed and blamed. Trump even seemed to suggest it was partly her own fault (source).
As she said,
“Its just awful, it’s like I was attacked once and now I’m attacked over and over and over again, and I can’t heal and I can’t get better and I’m finding it hard to love and to open up and to care about anything or anyone.” (source)
Author’s note: There is probably even more to this story… but we didn’t want to delay publishing it any longer.