Update: There is an excellent documentary running on HBO in January and Feb. 2005 called Rape in a Small Town (website) about a different case.
News coverage of a high-profile rape often ends with a courtroom verdict. But for Kate Bramson, that's when the reporting began. After watching a teenage boy led away in handcuffs, Journal executive editor Joel P. Rawson writes, “Bramson left the court that day knowing there was a bigger story to be told.”
The story details a year and a half in the life of Laura, a girl who was raped by a popular classmate during her sophomore year at Burrillville High School. Bramson's report shows the lingering effects of rape in a small community.
Even after her attacker had been found guilty and sentenced, Laura continued to face harassment and bullying by peers who blamed her for dividing the community and derailing the future of her attacker. And throughout the process she found herself under intense scrutiny: some said she cried too much; others said she shouldn't be attending school events, or playing soccer.
Victims are often blamed for the assaults against them, but news reports seldom explore this dynamic. By focusing on the impact of the rape on the victim, her family, and the community, the Journal team has broken new ground in the coverage of cases such as these.