DURHAM -- The woman who in 2006 falsely accused three Duke University lacrosse players of rape isn't getting a fair shake from the court system, according to an Angier man who helped tell her story.
"It could have been anybody's daughter," Clark said about Crystal Mangum. "It could have been my daughter."
Clark said his daughter is the same age as the 31-year-old Mangum, who is locked up in the downtown jail on multiple charges, including arson, because of a February altercation at her home near N.C. Central University. Mangum is accused of setting fire to her boyfriend's clothes in a bathtub while her children were present in the residence.
Originally facing an attempted-murder charge, Mangum was jailed with a bond of $1 million. Durham County Chief Public Defender Lawrence Campbell weeks ago got that knocked down to $250,000. Durham County Assistant Public Defender Clayton Jones got it further bumped back to $100,000.
But Mangum remains in jail. Her bond still is too high, Clark insisted, and he attributes that to the woman's role in the lacrosse case.
"Her problem is who she is," Clark said.
At an April court hearing, Jones told a judge his client was arrested even though she was the victim of the domestic violence to which police responded.
But it's because Mangum is who she is that caused police to see fit to have her locked up, Clark said. Had Mangum been any other woman, the man at her house would have been the one arrested, Clark said.
Because the case still is being investigated, Durham Police Department spokeswoman Kammie Michael explained it wouldn't be appropriate for her to comment publicly about why Mangum's boyfriend wasn't charged with any crimes.
District Attorney Tracey Cline said discussing the fairness of Mangum's bail situation would go against the policy in her office of not making public comments about pending cases.
Clark, with Mangum, co-wrote "Last Dance for Grace: The Crystal Mangum Story," and he is part of a group trying to raise the monetary percentage needed to get Mangum out of jail. That's $10,000.
Problem is, folks are scared to contribute to Mangum's cause out of fear of being linked to her and attracting unwanted attention, Clark said.
About $1,000 has been raised toward Mangum's bail, Clark said. Most of that came from him, he said.
"She makes bad choices with men; a lot of us do," Clark explained about Mangum. But "when I met her, she wasn't anything like they kept saying."
Mangum -- she was raised in Durham and is a graduate of Hillside High School -- actually wrote most of "Last Dance for Grace," which deals with the Duke lacrosse case, Clark said. He said pretty much all he did was clean up some of the writing.
Clark, who said he's worked in various media-related capacities, explained all he's trying to do now in helping Mangum is reunite a mother with her three children.
But Clark's initial involvement was spurred by his need to check what he perceived as injustice that day in an airport where he saw a monitor broadcasting a news report about what some Duke lacrosse players were accused of doing to a stripper. Clark said he came to know that stripper as a mother who could benefit from him helping out in ways like making sure there was food for her and the kids. So that's what he did, Clark said.
"It's hurting me financially," Clark said. But helping Mangum is the right thing to do, he said.