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Facing her daughter’s rapist

May 22, 2011

TAMPA — She saw him for the first time on Friday and stared.

Kendrick Morris. He was the brutal rapist, the reason her life now revolves around her daughter’s hospital bed.

For three years, the mother had left criminal matters to lawyers and cops. She didn’t need to know the details of that night outside the Bloomingdale library. What mattered more was seeing her daughter’s little victories — recognizing light and shadows, holding her head up for a few seconds.

Friday was different. It was an end. The 19-year-old rapist would be sentenced. And he would hear what was on her mind.

“I don’t want to see you walk back through that door,” she would tell him, “never realizing what you did...”

(collaboration with Kim Wilmath)

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