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A Texas girl accused her school's star athlete of rape—and was kicked off her squad for refusing to cheer for him. Jessica Bennett reports from a town still divided three years later.
She was blonde and blue-eyed, captain of her high school cheer squad, headstrong, but shy at times, too: she made a point not to call undue attention to herself. He was tall and strapping, an outgoing African-American kid, a church-going boy with the swagger of a star athlete. Their paths crossed mostly on the football field where she rooted for him every week, but that changed one night in October 2008 when, Hillaire says, Rakheem Bolton raped her.
The accusation dropped like a bomb in Silsbee, Texas. Rumors flew that Hillaire made up the story, ashamed of a consensual act because Rakheem was black. The footballer insisted the sex was consensual and was cleared of rape—only to plead guilty to simple assault. His lawyer suggested that Hillaire (whose name Newsweek and The Daily Beast has published with her parents’ permission) had been “asking for it.” Hillaire was kicked off the cheer squad for refusing to cheer for Rakheem on the field. A petition was started in her favor.
..but she was screaming no and help but was that before or after the guys started kicking the door in?