Desiree Washington: Bio of Mike Tyson’s Alleged Rape Accuser

Who is Desiree Washington?

Desiree Washington – the former Miss Black Rhode Island – dominated American media in the early 90s after accusing famed boxer Mike Tyson of rape. At only 18 years old, Washington’s accusations against Tyson garnered national attention and stirred controversy.

Despite Tyson’s denial of the allegations, the heavyweight champion was found guilty and sentenced to six years in prison, followed by four years of probation in March 1992. Decades after the incident, Tyson reflected on the controversial case in the ABC documentary, “Mike Tyson: Knockout.”

But who is Desiree Washington, the woman who accused Tyson of this heinous crime? Let’s delve into the woman’s story at the center of one of modern American history’s most significant rape cases.

Desiree Washington Biography
Desiree Washington Biography

Quick facts

Full nameDesiree Lynn Washington
Age50 years old
Sun signNo information
BirthplaceRhode Island, USA
Current residenceRhode Island, USA
ParentsDonald Washington,
Mary Belle Silva Washington
SiblingsDonald Washington Jr.,
Dorrae Washington
Marital statusUnmarried
EducationProvidence College
Profession Teacher
Net worthUSD 500,000
Social mediaNo information
Height5 feet 3 inches

Early life

Desiree Washington on TV interview

Desiree Washington was born in Rhode Island, USA, in 1973. She came from a well-to-do family who owned a luxurious ranch-style home with a swimming pool and deck. However, her parents divorced when she was young, and she and her mother, Mary Belle Silva Washington, were forced to move to a working-class neighborhood in East Providence, Rhode Island. The family struggled financially, and Donald Washington, Desiree’s father, eventually quit his job and moved with her sister, Dorrae, to escape the harassment she was facing at school.

Despite her challenges, Desiree was a popular and academically gifted student at Coventry High School. She was a varsity cheerleader and played on the school’s softball team, and her classmates voted her the most friendly and talkative girl in the school. Desiree dreamed of becoming an attorney or politician and aspired to be the first black female President. After high school, she worked as a cashier at a Kmart and volunteered to teach Sunday School.

Desiree enrolled at Providence College after high school and graduated in May 1995 with a degree in psychology. In her senior year, she was appointed as a goodwill ambassador to Moscow, a remarkable achievement given that she was the only black person in a group of 34 students from all over America. However, her life would take a tragic turn after she accused boxer Mike Tyson of rape, an event that would profoundly impact her and her family.


Donald Washington
Donald Washington

Desiree Washington’s parents, Donald and Mary Belle Silva Washington, were married for 17 years before divorcing. Their split happened in May 1992, shortly after Mike Tyson was sentenced for raping Desiree. The couple did everything possible to provide their children with a good upbringing and meet all their needs. Donald was a bookkeeper at the Days Inn in Cranston, while Mary Belle was a personnel manager. The Washingtons adopted Dorrae in 1984, three years younger than Desiree.

Mary Belle Silva Washington
Mary Belle Silva Washington

Desiree was the pampered child of her parents and shared a great relationship with her brother, Donald Washington Jr. However, the tragic incident with Desiree significantly affected the family’s financial situation. Mary Belle and Donald’s divorce papers state that the situation following Desiree’s rape “have led to the irremediable breakdown of the marriage.” Despite the challenging circumstances, the family did their best to support Desiree in the case’s aftermath.

Desiree Washington career

Desiree Washington photo

Desiree Washington’s career path took a significant turn after she won the Miss Black Rhode Island beauty pageant at the age of 18 in 1991. She went on to participate in the Miss Black America pageant, which took place in Indianapolis.

Unfortunately, her encounter with American professional heavyweight boxer Mike Tyson, a celebrity guest at the event, would turn her life upside down. After accusing Tyson of rape, she became an overnight media sensation and faced intense scrutiny from the media and the general public.

Despite this, Desiree appeared in an interview with Barbara Walters to provide her side of the story, describing how her life had been forever changed following the traumatic incident in July 1991. However, after stepping away from the media spotlight, little information about her career accomplishments is available.

In 1995, the Los Angeles Times reported that she was residing in Rhode Island with her mother and pursuing a psychology degree. While some sources suggest she works as a teacher, Desiree now leads a low-profile life away from the public eye.


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 ended unexpectedly after Desiree visited her boyfriend’s family who disapproved of her.

Net worth

Desiree Washington’s estimated net worth as of 2021 is between USD 100,000 and to 500,000. The former beauty queen faced significant financial struggles after her rape in 1991, resulting in her parent’s divorce and the family having to sell their luxurious ranch-style home in Rhode Island.

According to the LA Times, Desiree and her mother have since lived in a commercial district of cheap restaurants and hardware stores, leading a secluded life away from the public eye.

Rape Case

In 1991, Desiree Washington accused former heavyweight boxing champion, Mike Tyson, of raping her in his hotel room at the Canterbury Hotel in Indianapolis. At the time, Desiree was a participant in the Miss Black America pageant, where Tyson was one of the celebrity guests.

Boxing legend Mike Tyson
Boxing legend Mike Tyson

After meeting Tyson at the pageant’s dance rehearsal, he invited her to his hotel room later that night. Desiree agreed to go since her father, brother, and grandfather were huge boxer fans. However, after the encounter, Desiree went to Methodist Hospital’s emergency department the next day and reported that she had been raped.

In July 1991, Tyson was arrested from his hotel room in Indianapolis. Following a month-long court trial in the Marion County Superior Court, Tyson was found guilty of raping Desiree and sentenced to six years in prison, with four years of probation. Tyson’s then-chauffeur supported Desiree’s allegations, describing her as being in a state of shock.

At the trial, Desiree shared graphic details of the night in question and testified, “I felt like someone was ripping me apart.” Despite the overwhelming evidence against Tyson, the case remained controversial, with some questioning Desiree’s credibility and accusing her of being a gold-digger.

Desiree Washington’s rape case involving Mike Tyson is one of the most high-profile cases of sexual assault in American history. Claudia Jordan, Washington’s childhood friend, claimed in a 2020 podcast interview that she was called by Tyson’s team to testify against Desiree. Jordan, who was a hostile witness for Tyson’s side, revealed that the legendary boxer was mad when she testified in favor of Desiree.

In 1992, Tyson was convicted of raping Washington and was sentenced to six years in prison and four years of probation. Despite Tyson’s claim that everything was consensual, Desiree accused him of raping her in his hotel room at the Canterbury Hotel in Indianapolis.

After his release from prison in 1995, Tyson regained the WBA and WBC titles in 1996 and went on to become one of the few boxers in history to have regained the heavyweight championship title after losing it. However, in 2013, Tyson published his autobiography called Undisputed Truth and claimed that he did not rape Desiree Washington. He settled a civil suit filed against him by Washington in 1995, but the amount of the settlement was not disclosed. In 2020, Tyson defended himself again, saying that while he was not above violating a woman, he did not violate Washington.

Desiree Washington social media

Based on the information available in the text, it is accurate to say that Desiree Washington does not have a public presence on social media and has chosen to maintain her privacy.

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