A woman who lied about being gang-raped 26 years ago has finally begun to pay back an innocent man whose reputation she left in tatters.In January, former New York prosecutor Steven Pagones filed court papers seeking the $431,000 he is owed by Tawana Brawley, who, as a 15-year-old, falsely labeled him a 'gang-raping, kidnapping racist.'Last week, Brawley sent him her first payment - 10 checks totaling $3,764.61 - after the Virginia court ordered the money garnisheed from the nurse's wages. It comes 15 years after a court ruled that she defamed him with her nasty hoax.'It's a long time coming,' Pagones, 52, told The New York Post. The ex-prosecutor said he remains more interested in extracting a confession from Brawley than the money she owes.'Every week, she'll think of me. And every week, she can think about how she has a way out — she can simply tell the truth.'Brawley's advisers in the case — the Reverend Al Sharpton, and attorneys C. Vernon Mason and Alton Maddox — have already paid, or are paying their debt to Pagones. Until now, Brawley, 41, has refused to pay out but she is now forced to cough up $627 each month to the man who is one of three whose name she dragged through the mud in 1987, possibly for the rest of her life.
'For at least 25 years, she has been living a major lie,' Pagones said in January. 'To me, this has always been about responsibility and accountability.'She told police she had been abducted by two white men and driven to the woods where they and four others ravaged her for four days - one of which had a badge.The case was catapulted onto the national stage by her attorneys Alton H. Maddox and C. Vernon Mason, and the then-little-known Rev Al Sharpton, who claimed she was raped 33 times.Brawley, who now goes by the name Tawana Gutierrez, is a single mom working as a nurse in Virginia.She may now have as much as 25 percent of her wages garnished to repay Pagones, his lawyer, Garry Bolnick, told the New York Post.'People criticize me for going after a hardworking single mother trying to support herself and child,' Pagones said. 'My argument has been she has not been held accountable.''If she is not going to tell the truth, then it is about the money. That is the only way to hold her accountable,” said Pagones, who is now principal owner of a private investigations firm.