Who is Desiree Washington?

Desiree Washington was quite a popular name in the American media during the early 90s. Former Miss Black Rhode Island, Desiree Washington created many news waves when she accused American boxer Mike Tyson of raping her. At the time, Desiree Washington was only 18 years old. Although Tyson denied all the accusations, the heavyweight boxing champion was eventually sentenced to six years in prison and four years of probation in March 1992. 

Desiree Washington Biography
Desiree Washington Biography

quick facts

Full nameDesiree Lynn Washington
NicknameDez
Birthday1973
Age49 years old
Sun signNot Available
Chinese zodiacOx
TraitsPositive– Calm, Methodical, and Patient

Negative–  Stubborn, Moody, and Conservative
BirthplaceRhode Island, USA
NationalityAmerican
ReligionBaptist
EthnicityAfrican-American
GenderFemale
Sexual orientationStraight
Height5 feet 3 inches
EyesBrown
HairBlack
CollegeProvidence College
ParentsDonald Washington (father)
Mary Belle Silva Washington (mother)
Marital statusUnmarried
ChildrenNone
Profession Teacher
Net worthUSD 100,000 to $500,000
Currently living inRhode Island, USA

Fun facts

  • Desiree Washington rose to fame after accusing professional boxer Mike Tyson of raping her in 1991. Tyson was arrested and convicted on the rape charge on February 10, 1992. He was sentenced to six years in prison but was released after serving less than three years of the sentence in March 1995. 
  • Desiree has two siblings. She has an older brother named Donald Washington Jr. Her parents adopted a girl named Dorrae Washington in 1984. At the time of Dorrae’s adoption, Desiree was only 10 years old. 
  • Desiree won the Miss Black Rhode Island beauty pageant and went on to participate in the Miss Black America pageant representing her home state of Rhode Island in 1991. 
  • In a 1992 interview with Barbara Walters, Desiree talked about her former self and said, “I was just such an outgoing person, such a loving person, such a trusting person, and I miss that person.”
  • According to her childhood friend, Caludia Jordan, Desiree has claimed a new identity after the heartbreaking incidents that occurred in 1991. One of Desiree’s colleagues described her as “withdrawn” following the tragic incident. 

Desiree Washington Biography

Desiree Washington birthday and horoscope

Washington was born in 1973 in Rhode Island, USA. Apart from this, her exact date of birth is yet to be revealed. Due to this, information about the former Miss Black Rhode Island’s horoscope is also missing. 

However, since her birth year is 1973, according to the Chinese zodiac, Desiree was born in the year of the Ox. People having this zodiac are known for their calm, methodical, and patient nature. However, they also tend to be conservative, moody, and stubborn at times. 

Nationality, ethnicity, and religion

Since Desiree was born in Rhode Island, USA, her nationality is American. However, she belongs to African-American ethnic background. When it comes to her religion, Desiree is a Baptist, a major branch of Protestant Christianity. 

Desiree Washington height, measurements & appearance

The former beauty queen stands at a height of 5 feet and 3 inches. Desiree is quite petite owing to her size and her small frame. 

desiree-washington
Desiree Washington photo

Moreover, Desiree has black-colored hair and has brown eyes. In addition, she has an oval-shaped face and prominent lips. 

Desiree Washington Wikipedia

Desiree Washington comes from a well-to-do family hailing from a small town south of Providence in Rhode Island. The Washingtons owned a lavish ranch-style home along with a swimming pool and a deck. 

Desiree was the pampered child of her parents, Mary Belle Silva Washington and Donald Washington. Additionally, she also has a brother named Donald Washington Jr. with whom she shares a great relationship. 

Moreover, Donald Washington and Mary Belle Silva Washington also adopted a girl named Dorrae in 1984. Dorrae is three years younger than Desiree. 

The Washingtons did everything in their power to provide their three children with a good upbringing and meet all their needs. Donald Washington worked as a bookkeeper at the Days Inn in Cranston and Mary Belle Silva Washington worked as a personnel manager. 

Donald and Mary Belle were married for 17 years after which they decided to go their separate ways. Their split happened in May 1992, shortly after Mike Tyson was sentenced for raping Desiree.  

In fact, Mary Belle and Donald’s divorce papers provide evidence that the situations following Desiree’s rape “have led to the irremediable breakdown of the marriage.” Moreover, the unfortunate incident took quite a toll on Washington’s financial situation. 

They had to sell their home and after the divorce, Desiree and her mother Mary Belle relocated from their affluent neighborhood to a working-class neighborhood in East Providence, Rhode Island. 

Mary Belle Silva Washington in particular was deeply affected by the tragic event. The LA Times reported in 1995 that the former personnel manager was undergoing counseling and receiving state disability “due to depression and stress.” 

Desiree Washington’s friend Nikki Walshe commented on her family’s financial situation and said,

“They were a happy family and their home was a pleasant place. Her mother was a wonderful person. She’d cook us snacks, sit down and enjoy a chat with us.” 

Furthermore, the distressing event also severely impacted Desiree’s sister Dorrae. According to one of Dorrae’s friends, Steve Bardi, Dorrae was badly bullied in school. 

Bardi said,

“The kids at school wouldn’t leave Dorrae alone. Some of them kept telling her that her sister had asked for what she got. There were others who wanted to put a Mike Tyson Punch-out Nintendo game in her mailbox with a threatening note. It was cruel.”

Due to this, Donald Washington quit his job as a bookkeeper and relocated to somewhere else with Dorrae. Bardi claimed that the day before Dorrae left town, she was crying and telling her friends,

“My father just can’t take it anymore.”

Educational background

Desiree Washington attended Coventry High School. She was quite popular during her school days. Desiree was a varsity cheerleader and was a part of the school’s softball team. 

Moreover, she was also quite academically gifted. Everyone at her high school expected big things from Desiree. 

They believed she would someday become an attorney or politician. In fact, Desiree herself wished to be the first black female President.

Desiree was voted the most friendly and talkative girl in her school. Describing what she would be like in 10 years, Desiree wrote her high school yearbook: “Smiling and laughing”.

After graduating from high school, Desiree worked as a cashier at a nearby Kmart to fill the gap between high school and college. Likewise, she also volunteered and taught Sunday School. 

Describing Desiree’s personality during her high school days, her friend Alyce Pagliarini said in an interview,

“Dez was one of the most popular kids in school. She knew everybody and was always at the center of attention. She was a joiner. A real people-person.”

Pagliarini also recalled how Desiree completely changed after being raped by Mike Tyson in 1991. She said,

“Then she came back from the pageant and just cut herself off from everybody.”

After graduating from high school, Desiree enrolled at Providence College. She graduated from there in May 1995 with a degree in psychology. Just like her high school days, Desiree was quite a force to be reckoned with during her four years in college.

In her senior year, Desiree was appointed as a goodwill ambassador to Moscow. This was quite an amazing accomplishment for the Rhode Island native since she was the only black person in a group of 34 students from all over America. 

Desiree Washington career

Desiree Washington won the Miss Black Rhode Island beauty pageant at the age of 18 in 1991. After this, she participated in Miss Black America which took place in Indianapolis. 

Unfortunately, one of Desiree’s happiest moments in life would turn out to be one of her life’s saddest memories. American professional boxer Mike Tyson was invited as one of the celebrity guests on Miss Black America. 

Desiree Washington
Desiree Washington Picture

Following their meeting at the event, Desiree Washington accused the world heavyweight champion of raping her. Tyson was arrested in July 1991 from his hotel room in Indianapolis. 

Tyson was convicted of raping Washington on February 10, 1992. He was sentenced to six years in prison along with four years of probation. 

After accusing Tyson of raping her, Desiree’s life changed completely. She became an overnight media sensation and was subjected to a lot of scrutiny from the media and the general public.

Post the traumatic incident, Desiree appeared in an interview with Barbara Walters and provided viewers with her side of the story. She described how her life had changed for the worse following the unfortunate event that took place in July 1991. 

After this, Desiree Washington completely stepped away from the media spotlight. As a result, not much information is available about her whereabouts or career accomplishments. 

In 1995, the Los Angeles Times reported that Desiree was residing in Rhode Island with her mother and was pursuing a degree in psychology. However, according to some sources, Desiree is working as a teacher and is leading a low-profile life at the present. 

Relationships and dating history

Not much is known about Desiree Washington’s past boyfriends and dating history. In fact, the former Miss Black Rhode Island has tried to conceal the details of her personal life from the media as much as possible. 

However, during the court trials, a former boyfriend of Desiree’s provided an affidavit which claimed that Desiree had once falsely accused him of rape even though they had consensual sex. Desiree’s unnamed former boyfriend claimed that Desiree made false allegations against him when she was just 16 years old.

Following the lengthy court battle, Desiree began dating a mystery man. The lovebirds were pretty serious about their commitment to one another. However, their relationship came to an unexpected halt after Desiree visited her boyfriend’s family who disapproved of her.

Desiree Washington net worth and lifestyle

As of 2021, Desiree Washington is estimated to have a net worth ranging between USD 100,000 to 500,000.The former beauty queen’s financial struggles were previously reported by the LA Times in 1995. 

According to the media outlet, Desiree and her family suffered a major financial setback following her rape in 1991. Not only did it result in her parent’s divorce but it also forced the Washingtons to sell their luxurious ranch-style home in Rhode Island. 

Describing the economic hurdles faced by Desiree and her family, the LA Times wrote,

“Washington, who once sought the spotlight, remains secluded with her mother in the upstairs apartment in a commercial district of cheap restaurants and hardware stores.”

In contrast to Desiree’s financial hardships, Mike Tyson seems to be doing pretty well despite retiring from professional boxing in 2005. Estimated to be worth USD 10 million presently, Tyson was one of the highest-paid athletes in the world in his prime. 

Dubbed as “The Hardest Hitter in Heavyweight History”, Tyson was worth USD 300 million in his heyday. However, in 2003, Tyson declared bankruptcy and the world heavyweight champion was allegedly USD 23 million in debt. 

Desiree Washington rape case

Desiree Washington was just 18 years old when she accused American boxer, Mike Tyson of raping her in his room at the Canterbury Hotel in Indianapolis. The former Miss Black Rhode Island was a participant in Miss Black America which took place in Indianapolis in 1991. 

One of the event’s celebrity guests was the former world heavyweight champion, Mike Tyson. Desiree had met Tyson at the pageant’s dance rehearsal in the afternoon. 

Later that night, Tyson invited Desiree to his hotel room at 1:30 a.m. Desiree left to meet Tyson at his hotel room since her father, brother, and grandfather were huge fans of the boxer. The next day, Desiree went to Methodist Hospital’s emergency reporting that she had been raped.

In July 1991, Tyson was arrested from his hotel room in Indianapolis. Following the arrest, a month-long court trial took place in the Marion County superior court. Tyson’s then-chauffeur corroborated Desiree’s allegations, who described Desiree as being in a state of “shock”.

At the trial, Desiree recounted the bone-chilling details of the night and testified,

“I tried to punch him, but it was like hitting a wall. I said, ‘Get off! Get off me!’ The next thing I knew, he slammed me on the bed. I was begging him, ‘Please, I have a future ahead of me. . . . Please, I don’t need a baby. . . . Please, I’m going to college. He said, ‘So, we have a baby,’ and jammed himself inside me. I felt like someone was ripping me apart.”

In an interview with the LA Times, one of Desiree’s childhood friends, Alyce Palgriani, detailed the phone conversation she had with Desiree following the events on that fateful day. Palgriani said,

“She called me one night and said, ‘Something bad happened.’ I asked her what, but she said, ‘I can’t tell you.’ ‘Why can’t you tell me,’ I said. I mean, we went to Girl Scouts together. She said, ‘Because it has to do with someone famous.’ I said, ‘Yeah, right!’”

Claudia Jordan and Desiree Washington

In June 2020, former Real Housewives of Atlanta star Claudia Jordan made explosive remarks on the Hustling with Vivica A. Fox podcast and opened up about being called by Mike Tyson’s team to testify against Desiree Washington. Jordan, Washington’s childhood friend, described how her testimony made the legendary boxer “mad.”

Jordan said,

“It was horrible for me. [Tyson] was like 10 feet away, he was mad. I think he thought I was called by the defense like all the other paid-off witnesses that came to the trial in new clothes and fresh from a trip from Jamaica. But when I got on the stand, I’m a hostile witness for their side. You hate to see a Black man who came from nothing be … I can’t even say taken down, he took himself down. There’s evidence, he got on the stand and he said, ‘I know I did something wrong but I didn’t break no bones, so what’s the big deal.'”

Moreover, Jordan appreciated Desiree for not trying to profit off the situation. She further claimed that Desiree had to “change her name and move, cut her hair, she changed how she looks” after the ill-fated incident that turned her whole life upside down. 

Mike Tyson prison sentence and settlement

On February 10, 1992, Tyson was convicted on the rape charge despite maintaining that everything that day had taken place with Washington’s full consent and that he hadn’t forced himself upon Washington. The superstar boxer was sentenced to six years in prison along with four years of probation on March 26, 1992.

Boxing legend Mike Tyson
Boxing legend Mike Tyson

In a lengthy 11-minute-long speech in the courtroom, Tyson defended himself and said,

“I don’t come here begging for mercy, ma’am. can’t see anything good coming from this. I,m here prepared to expect the worst. I’ve been crucified, humiliated worldwide.”

Tyson was released on parole after three years in 1995. Following his release, Tyson made his grand comeback fight which grossed more than USD 96 million worldwide. Likewise, Tyson regained the WBA and WBC titles in 1996 and became one of the only few men in boxing history to have regained the heavyweight championship title after losing it.  

In 1995, Tyson settled the civil suit filed against him by Washington. However, his lawyer Nathan Dershowitz did not exactly specify the amount that Tyson had to pay as part of the settlement. 

In November 2013, Tyson published his autobiographical book called Undisputed Truth. he wrote,

“I did not rape Desiree Washington. She knows it, God knows it, and the consequences of her actions are something that she’s got to live with for the rest of her life.”

In 2020, the Tyson defended himself again and said,

“I don’t think I should have been in prison. I’m not above violating a woman, but I did not violate that woman.”

Desiree Washington social media

Following the horrific incidents that occurred on July 19, 1991, Desiree Washington became an overnight media sensation. Initially, Washington chased the media spotlight and even appeared in a tell-all interview with Barbara Walters in 1992. 

However, after being subjected to merciless public scrutiny, Washington completely vanished from the limelight. Even to this day, she leads a life away from the glare of the media and tries her best to protect her privacy. 

Understandably, Desiree Washington chooses to also steer clear of social media. Due to this, the former beauty pageant winner is nowhere to be found on social networking sites such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. 

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