The story of Desiree Washington and Mike Tyson remains a controversial chapter in the world of sports and celebrity culture. This article revisits the accusation made by Washington against the former heavyweight boxing champion.
On the morning of July 19, 1991, Desiree, then Miss Black Rhode Island, found herself in an Indianapolis hotel room with Tyson. According to her account, Tyson invited her to his room at the Canterbury Hotel after meeting at a Miss Black America pageant rehearsal. However, a day later, she checked into the emergency room at Methodist Hospital, reporting that she had been raped.
Her testimony painted a picture of the incident, with Tyson allegedly laughing as she sobbed. The subsequent rape trial, which took place in the Marion County Superior Court from January 26 to February 10, 1992, was a high-profile affair. Desiree’s case was supported by corroborating testimony, including that of Tyson’s chauffeur, Virginia Foster. The driver said at the time:
“She [Desiree Washington] looked all frantic like she might have been in a state of shock. She looked dazed, disoriented.”
Furthermore, Thomas Richardson, the emergency room physician who examined Washington more than 24 hours after the incident, confirmed that her physical condition in her genitals was consistent with rape. In his defense, Tyson claimed that the encounter had taken place with Washington’s full consent.
He told before his sentencing:
“I have not raped anyone, tried to rape anyone by any means. I’m sorry for Miss Washington as a person. I by no means meant to hurt her or do anything to her. I’m sure she knows that.”
Throughout the trial, public opinion was divided. Some depicted Washington as a gold digger, motivated by a desire to exploit Tyson’s wealth. The boxer’s supporters labeled her vindictive and jealous.
However, the jury found Desiree to be a credible witness who was telling the truth. Washington acknowledged the challenges she faced, expressing her fears that no one would believe her or think she was solely after financial gain.
On February 10, 1992, the boxer was convicted of the rape charge. He was sentenced to six years in prison on March 26, 1992. Despite being 25 years old at the time of the crime, Tyson was incarcerated at the Indiana Youth Center (now the Plainfield Correctional Facility) in April 1992. He was released in March 1995 after serving less than three years.
The aftermath of this incident had consequences for Washington. Her personal life was impacted, leading to her parents’ divorce, and her siblings faced difficulties at school as the event became a source of criticism for her family.
In the years since the trial, Desiree has chosen to maintain a low profile and keep most aspects of her personal life private. As of now, there is limited public information about her, except that she is 47 years old, born in 1973. At the time of the incident in July 1991, she was 18 years old.