It was a crime that captured national attention. In the idyllic suburb of Glen Ridge, New Jersey, four of the town's most popular high school athletes were accused of raping a retarded young woman while nine of their teammates watched. Everyone was riveted by the question: What went wrong in this seemingly flawless American town? In search of the answer, Bernard Lefkowitz takes the reader behind Glen Ridge's manicured facade into the shadowy basement that was the scene of the rape, into the mansions on "Millionaire's Row," into the All-American high school, and finally into the courtroom where justice itself was on trial.
Lefkowitz's sweeping narrative, informed by more than 200 interviews and six years of research, recreates a murky adolescent world that parents didn't—or wouldn't—see: a high school dominated by a band of predatory athletes; a teenage culture where girls were frequently abused and humiliated at sybaritic and destructive parties, and a town that continued to embrace its celebrity athletes—despite the havoc they created—as "our guys." But that was not only true of Glen Ridge; Lefkowitz found that the unqualified adulation the athletes received in their town was echoed in communities throughout the nation. Glen Ridge was not an aberration. The clash of cultures and values that divided Glen Ridge, Lefkowitz writes, still divides the country.
Parents, teachers, and anyone concerned with how children are raised, how their characters are formed, how boys and girls learn to treat each other, will want to read this important book.