In a little town of Silsbee, Texas with population of less than 7,000 Hillaire, then a 16 year old cheerleader says she was raped when four boys trapped her in a room and locked the door.
It was a big controversy in a small town and after the gossip and accusations of she asked for it faded two of the boys eventually pleaded guilty to only a misdemeanor.
One of the boys was Rakheem Bolton. A few months after the incident Rakheem was shooting free throws during a high school basketball game and while the other cheerleaders yelled his name and cheered; Hillaire refused.
She was reprimanded by school officials and kicked off the team. Hillaire's parents sued the school and two courts ruled that as a cheerleader Hillarie agreed to be a mouthpiece for the high school. That her case was frivolous and her parents were ordered to pay the high school's legal fees of over $40,000.
The case was appealed all of the way to the supreme court and seemed like a slam dunk. Isn't a rape victim allowed in this country not to cheer for her attacker. Isn't that a form of free speech protected by the constitution?
Apparently not. The supreme court refused to take the case and the fine and the lower court ruling stands
Hillaire is now in college. Her fine was paid by thousands who responded to an online petition. Tens of thousands of pennies were sent to the high school after a journalist suggested that her fine be paid that way in protest.
But that is far from a happy ending to the story. When the court system failed Hillaire S. it failed us all. Her nightmare with a sexual assault and ended with an assault on all of our freedoms. Hillaire says she will never forget the nightmare of what happened to her and neither should we.