The New York Times Takes Another Shot at the Cleveland Gang-Rape Story

Last Sunday, Bill Keller, executive editor of The New York Times, noted in his column that the paper's original story on the horrific Cleveland gang rape was a "ham-handed article that led some readers to think we were blaming the 11-year-old victim."

He said "the only way to make amends was to order up a whole new story."

That story appears today.

It includes many of the details already covered by the Houston Chronicle and new interviews that cast a decidedly different take on matters.

Instead of quoting people wondering what the girl was doing in a notorious part of town, it has this, in the opening:

CLEVELAND, Tex. -- A year ago, the 11-year-old girl who the police say was the victim of repeated gang rapes in this East Texas town was an outgoing honor roll student, brimming with enthusiasm, who went on hikes and planted trees with a youth group here.

"She has always been a really bubbly child," said Brenda Myers, director of the Community and Children's Impact Center, who worked with her. "She always had a smile on her face."

But in October, just after starting sixth grade, the girl became withdrawn, Ms. Myers said, and in November, she stopped attending the center's meetings.

The story notes that "Court documents and dozens of interviews over several weeks with the girl's family, her friends and neighbors, as well as those who know the defendants, provide a more complete picture of what occurred as well as a deeper portrait of the victim."

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Richard Connelly
Contact: Richard Connelly