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Dart Award Winner

Rape in a Small Town

The story of a 15-year-old girl raped by a popular classmate and of the devastating aftermath for her, her family, and her town. Originally published in the Providence Journal (Providence, RI), in 2003.

By Kate Bramson, with Bob Thayer (photos) and Mimi Burkhardt (editor)

The click-click of the handcuffs echoed in the courtroom as they clamped around the teenager's wrists.

The girl who had once been his friend turned to her mother and whispered, "How many years is he going to be gone?"

Four years, her mother replied.

"That's not enough," Laura said.

Laura's mother likes to fix things, make them right. She couldn't fix what had happened to her daughter, but she had dreamed of the moment when the handcuffs would snap shut.

Then people would finally believe Laura, she had thought. Then, her family could begin the journey back to normal.

But the moment didn't measure up at all. Not by a long shot.

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Kate Bramson

  • Kate Bramson, a 1993 graduate of Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, has been on the Providence Journal reporting staff since August, 2002. Prior to joining the Journal, she was the education writer for the Duluth News Tribune in Minnesota. From October, 1995 to Feburary, 1997, she was news editor for Budapest Week and The Budapest Sun in Hungary.

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