Static: Wednesday, August 6, 2003
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Rally against Rape

“I was sentenced for my crime, but my sentence didn’t include rape,” former Carswell inmate Marilyn Shirley told a June 24 prison rights rally in Washington, D.C. Shirley was standing on the steps of the Capitol, in front of a gathering of human rights advocates and members of Congress, relating her story of having been raped by a guard at the federal prison here three years ago. On July 25 the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 was passed unanimously by both houses. Stop Prison Rape, a national prison rights group, sponsored the rally. Leaders of the group said Shirley’s decision to go public with her humiliating tale — along with seven other rape victims or family members of rape victims — was the catalyst for passage of the bill, the first-ever federal legislation written to specifically deal with jailhouse rape at every level. “Without the victims’ courage to tell their stories,” SPR director Lara Stemple said, “this bill might never have passed.” Stemple also said Fort Worth Weekly deserves part of the credit for its reporting of Shirley’s case in January and its story in June on other sexual abuse cases at the prison. Stemple said her group blanketed congressional offices with copies of the Weekly’s stories.

Ginger Spice

Some months ago, Static gigged the Fort Worth Star-Telegram for printing a bizarre and rambling front-page correction that made little sense, since the article it was correcting contained no errors. Influential developer Ed Bass had complained about city beat reporter Ginger Richardson’s take on the proposed downtown convention center hotel, and top editors hung Richardson out to dry by siding with Mister Moneybags. Richardson, stunned by the lack of loyalty shown by the only newspaper she has ever worked for, sent out résumés. After considering multiple offers, she chose a well-regarded newspaper in one of the few places hotter than Fort Worth. Last Friday, she quit the Star-Tell-It-Like-The-Basses-Want-It and is heading to Phoenix, where she’ll cover the city beat for The Arizona Republic.

Writing about politicians for seven years has apparently affected Richardson, based on a tame parting quote she gave Static: “I spent a long time at the Star-Telegram. I grew up there, I learned a lot. They gave me some opportunities I honestly will be eternally grateful for. But this was the time to make a change and it’s the best thing for me.”

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