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No Winners in Tyson Sentence

March 26, 1992

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) _ There were no winners Thursday when boxer Mike Tyson was sent to prison for six years on a rape conviction.

Tyson lost his freedom and profession; the woman he was convicted of raping lost her innocence and privacy.

″The career of a great boxer has ended,″ said Elias M. Cordova, president of the World Boxing Association. ″Tyson was a bright star, and the only thing we can hope is that he has luck when his lawyers appeal.″

The association’s rules prohibit convicted felons from boxing professionally, Cordova said.

Desiree L. Washington of Coventry, R.I., the teen-age beauty pageant contestant who said the boxer raped her last summer, wasn’t in the courtroom when Tyson was sentenced.

″We’re being asked by her mother today to protect her privacy,″ said Edward Caron, a vice president of Providence College, where Miss Washington is a student.

As the former heavyweight boxer was led from the Marion Superior courtroom, prosecutors rushed to the telephone to tell the young woman the news: 10 years, four suspended.

″This child has no sense of happiness or elation. It will take months just to get back to normal, and that what’s she’s trying to do very, very hard - become that college student again,″ said Deputy Prosecutor Barbara Trathen, who spoke with Miss Washington.

Added Greg Garrison, the attorney who prosecuted Tyson: ″Had she been a rape victim in Indianapolis and the person been John Smith, it would have been hard. But when you’re a rape victim and the man’s name is Mike Tyson, and you can’t go outside of your dormitory room without drawing a crowd, it’s very difficult.″

Miss Washington was an 18-year-old contestant in the Miss Black America pageant last July when she met Tyson, who was in town to promote the event. She testified that the boxer attacked her after taking her to his hotel room on the pretext of having to make a phone call.

Tyson’s indictment last September outraged some blacks, who accused the system of being racially biased even though Miss Washington also is black.

Scores participated in an afternoon call-in show on black-oriented radio station WTLC.

″All but three were upset over the sentence - I think a combination of some anger, resignation, reinforcement of people’s feelings that African Americans cannot get fair justice in Indianapolis,″ said station manager Amos Brown.

A nationwide ″Mercy for Tyson″ petition drive was begun last month by a group of black ministers, including the Rev. T.J. Jemison, president of 8 million-member Baptist Convention U.S.A. based in Nashville, Tenn. He didn’t plan to comment before a news conference on Tuesday, a spokeswoman said.

The Rev. S.R. Shields, chairman of the local drive, said he had given the judge petitions with 30,000 signatures.

An Indianapolis woman who led a counter-petition drive, Carlin Chapman, said: ″I’m elated. I just wish he got more time.″

″If the man gets help, OK. But I doubt he’ll get much help in three years. From what I heard, he didn’t show any remorse,″ said Ms. Chapman.

Tyson could be released in three years - half the sentence - on good behavior.

Entertainer Bill Cosby, an acquaintance of Tyson, said he, too, hoped the boxer could get help in prison.

″It would be very honorable for the state of Indiana to allow this prisoner to be rehabilitated while he is serving his debt to society,″ said Cosby, on tour in Dallas.

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