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Duke rape accuser charged with attempted murder

Crystal Mangum wipes away a tear during a

Crystal Mangum wipes away a tear during a news conference for the release of her book, "The Last Dance for Grace: The Crystal Mangum Story," in Durham, N.C. (Oct. 23, 2008) Credit: AP, 2008

The one-time exotic dancer who accused three Duke University lacrosse players, including one from Long Island, of raping her in 2006 was arrested Wednesday night and charged with attempted first-degree murder, the Raleigh News & Observer is reporting.

Crystal Gail Mangum, 31, was arrested following a domestic disturbance during which authorities told the newspaper she set a fire in the bathtub and threatened to stab her boyfriend - all while her three children were inside the apartment in Durham, N.C.

Police were not immediately available for comment.

The paper reported that Mangum also was charged with five counts of arson, assault and battery, communicating threats, three counts of misdemeanor child abuse, injury to personal property, identity theft and resisting arrest.

Local television station WRAL reported on its Web site that police received the 911 call shortly after 11:30 p.m. and that when officers arrived they found Mangum and her boyfriend, identified as Milton Walker, 33, fighting.

Citing police records, the station is reporting Mangum "scratched, punched and threw objects at Walker and told him, 'I'm going to stab you, [expletive]!' "

Her three children, aged 3, 9 and 10, were in the home at the time but were not injured, authorities said.

The station said Walker was not arrested or charged.

It was March 2006 when Mangum accused three Duke lacrosse players, among them Collin Finnerty of Garden City, of sexually assaulting her during a team party at an off-campus residence. The charges against Finnerty, Reade Seligmann, of Essex Falls, N.J., and Dave Evans, of Bethesda, Md., were zealously pursued by local District Attorney Michael Nifong - despite serious doubts about their veracity.

The case was dismissed in April 2007 after North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper said there was no evidence of an assault. After being charged with almost two dozen ethics violations by the state bar, Nifong resigned. He was later sued by the three players.

The status of that lawsuit was not immediately clear.

It is being reported that Mangum is being held in Durham County Jail and is scheduled to appear for arraignment Thursday. Reports said she initially told police her name was "Marella Mangum" - and also gave them a false age.

Mangum, a student at North Carolina Central University at the time of the lacrosse incident, released the memoir "Last Dance for Grace: The Crystal Mangum Story" in 2008. It was written with Vincent Clark.

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