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Dart Award Winner

Rape in a Small Town


What follows is a summary of Bramson's reporting organized by subject.

What follows is a summary of Bramson's reporting organized by subject:

Sentencing on Jan. 14, 2003: Bramson attended the sentencing. Laura and her parents' reactions and thoughts about that day were discussed in extensive personal interviews; observations about that day also provided in an interview with school nurse Marilyn Kelley.

Laura's parents' rules about boys: from an interview with her family.

Descriptions of how well Plante was known in the school community, his art work and his friendship with Laura: interviews with five friends of the Plante family, an acquaintance and a local businessman who wrote letters to the court on the family's or Plante's behalf; the 120 letters submitted to the court on Plante's behalf, which were written by 119 people and categorized by Bramson for trends and themes; interview with school nurse Marilyn Kelley; interviews with Laura and her family.

The rape scene: Taken almost entirely from Laura's grand jury testimony in February 2002, which Bramson acquired from the Superior Court, Providence. The only exceptions, from interview with Laura: that it hadn't occurred to her to ask if Plante's mother was home; the reason she broke up with her ex-boyfriend; and that she felt comfortable confiding in Plante because he was her friend.

Laura's mother arriving home the day of the rape: from interviews with Laura's family.

Laura's mother arriving at the high school: interviews with Laura's family; school nurse Kelley also spoke of the phone call to Laura's mother; high school social worker declined to comment for this story after consulting with the superintendent of schools, who she said advised her not to talk because the assault had not taken place on school grounds.

Description of Laura's actions at home and school the morning after the assault and her conversations with friends and Kelley about the rape: from Laura's grand jury testimony. Several details are from interviews with Laura, her parents, and Kelley.

Hasbro Children's Hospital: from Dr. Amy P. Goldberg's grand jury testimony; description that the penis piercing is Bramson's after examining it in the evidence box in Superior Court; Laura's mother's comments in examining room are from interview with Laura and her parents. Bramson also confirmed two points with Goldberg in a brief phone interview.

Description of Laura's father being called at work: from interviews with Laura's family and Kelley.

Description of Laura filing police complaint, Plante's arrest, charges from two other women and their accounts, description of Plante moving through the judicial system: from grand jury testimony by Det. Wayne M. Richardson, Laura, the other two young women; from District Court and Superior Court records; interview with Al Bucci, assistant to the director of the Adult Correctional Institutions. Plante's arrest report was not on file in District Court; Burrillville police refused to release Plante's arrest report or any narratives that accompany that report.

Winter 2002: from interviews with Laura's family, Kelley and Burrillville High School principal Richard Trogisch; 1994 real-estate transactions listed in The Providence Journal to corroborate family's recollections; examination of the stack of honor-roll certificates and report cards that Laura's mother has kept since kindergarten.

"Many residents say you're considered a newcomer unless you were born here": interviews with multiple residents, employees in town hall, school department employees, high school students and their parents from August 2002, when Bramson began covering Burrillville, until the present.

"At least two of Nick's great-grandparents were born here and died here when Nick was a child": from multiple Providence Journal obituaries that name the surviving relatives of deceased individuals, including the names of their children, which match names of people who wrote letters to the court identifying themselves as Plante's grandparents.

Description of Plante family's place in the community: interviews with eight letter-writers; letters written to the court by Plante's grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles, friends from school, friends of the family, friends of a cousin, teachers and guidance counselors who work or worked at Burrillville High School and local business owners; interview with Plante's parents and sister.

Spring and summer 2002: multiple interviews with Laura and her parents and interview with her brothers.

Fall 2002: interviews with Laura's family, Kelley, Deputy Atty. Gen. Gerald J. Coyne, Burrillville Police Lt. Kevin S. San Antonio, juror Anthony Rufo and principal Richard Trogisch.

Trial: Court records and assistance from court personnel; interview with San Antonio, Coyne, prosecutor Denise Choquette, Attorney General's public information officer Michael J. Healey, interviews with jurors.

Winter 2003: interviews with Laura's family; prosecutor Choquette told Judge Clifton at the sentencing hearing that Laura had received e-mails about freeing Nick Plante; Trogisch spoke also of the meeting just before Laura came back to school; interviews with Burrillville guidance counselor Mary Russo, Trogisch and Sojourner House's Sloan Rielly about "healthy relationships" class; interview with Kelley; dragon mural from Trogisch and Kelley.

April 2003: interviews with Laura's family, Trogisch and Kelley.

May 2003: interviews with Laura's family; incident report about the milk from Lincoln Police Department.

June 2003: interviews with Laura's family.

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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.

Bob Thayer

  • Bob Thayer is an award-winning feature photographer who has been on the Providence Journal staff since 1978. He is a graduate of Bowdoin College and the Columbia School of Journalism.

Mimi Burkhardt

  • Mimi Burkhardt has served in several roles since joining the Providence Journal's copy desk in 1980. She has been night metro editor, an assistant city editor, and a projects editor. For the past three years she has been a training editor, working closely with the newspaper's two-year interns and other reporters on the state staff. It was in her role as a consultive editor she worked with Kate Bramson on the award-winning story.

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