The grand jury in the Tawana Brawley case concluded in a report issued Thursday that the black teenager apparently concocted her story of abduction and rape by a gang of white men.
The 170-page report said there was "no evidence that any sexual assault occurred," and it suggested that the girl herself was responsible for the feces-smeared condition in which she was found after a four-day disappearance.The seven-month investigation went on without the cooperation of the 16-year-old Brawley or her family, who with their advisers accused authorities of engaging in a racially motivated cover-up.
Attorney General Robert Abrams said he has asked a state lawyers grievance committee to investigate and possibly discipline Brawley's lawyers, Alton Maddox Jr. and C. Vernon Mason, for making "every effort to prevent the criminal justice system from uncovering the truth of what happened to Tawana Brawley."
The grand jury heard testimony from more than 180 witnesses and received more than 250 exhibits of evidence on the case, which heightened racial tensions and led to accusations of ethical misconduct by Miss Brawley's lawyers.
"Although we have not found any evidence to substantiate her allegations, we remain concerned about the welfare of this young woman," the panel said.
Brawley was found Nov. 28 outside an apartment that had recently been vacated by her family in Wappingers Falls, 75 miles north of New York City. Her body was smeared with feces and scrawled with racial slurs in charcoal.
The teenager said she had been held captive for four days and raped by the white men, and she implicated law enforcement officials in the attack.
"There is nothing in regard to Tawana Brawley's appearance on Nov. 28 that is inconsistent with this condition having been self-inflicted," the grand jury said.
The panel also found there was no evidence of a cover-up by law enforcement officials.
It specifically cleared Dutchess County Assistant Prosecutor Steven Pagones and Harry Crist Jr., a police officer who committed suicide shortly after Brawley was found. Brawley's advisers had accused both of involvement.
The New York Times reported last month that the grand jury had overwhelming evidence the former Wappingers Falls resident fabricated her story of racial assault, perhaps to avoid punishment for late nights out.