Longreads Best of 2013 continues with a postscript by Rolling Stone's Sabrina Rubin Erdely, on her story about Georgia and Patterson Inman, heirs to the Duke fortune.
Georgia and Patterson are teenage heirs to the $1 billion Duke family fortune—the same Dukes who controlled the American tobacco market and established Duke University. But they were also raised by drug addicts who neglected and abused them for years:
"Georgia and Patterson survived a gilded childhood that was also a horror story of Dickensian neglect and abuse. They were globe-trotting trust-fund babies who snorkeled in Fiji, owned a pet lion cub and considered it normal to bring loose diamonds to elementary school for show and tell. And yet they also spent their childhoods inhaling freebase fumes, locked in cellars and deadbolted into their bedrooms at night in the secluded Wyoming mountains and on their ancestral South Carolina plantation. While their father spent millions on drug binges and extravagances, the children lived like terrified prisoners, kept at bay by a revolving door of some four dozen nannies and caregivers, underfed, undereducated, scarcely noticed except as objects of wrath."
PUBLISHED: Aug. 12, 2013
LENGTH: 38 minutes (9653 words)
A Navy intelligence analyst reports a rape and finds herself ostracized. She's not the only one, and the U.S. military still has not taken serious steps to address a culture that condones sex abuse:
"The scandal of rape in the U.S. Armed Forces, across all of its uniformed services, has become inescapable. Last year saw the military's biggest sex-abuse scandal in a decade, when an investigation at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio revealed that 32 basic-training instructors preyed on at least 59 recruits. In Fort Bragg, North Carolina, Army Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair is currently facing court-martial for sex-crimes charges, including forcible sodomy, for alleged misconduct against five women. In October, an Air Force technical sergeant filed an administrative complaint describing a work environment of comprehensive harassment – in which all women are 'bitches'; and claimed that during a routine meeting in a commander's office, she was instructed to take off her blouse and 'relax' – edged with menace and punctuated by violent assaults. In December, a Department of Defense report revealed that rape is rampant at the nation's military academies, where 12 percent of female cadets experienced 'unwanted sexual contact.' And an explosive series of federal lawsuits filed against top DOD brass on behalf of 59 service members (including Rebecca Blumer) allege that the leadership has done nothing to stop the cycle of rape and impunity – and that by failing to condemn sexual assault, the military has created a predators' playground."
PUBLISHED: Feb. 27, 2013
LENGTH: 28 minutes (7041 words)
Did the feds break up a dangerous terror plot in Cleveland—or did they manufacture a threat from a group of impressionable Occupy followers?
"The crux of the Cleveland Five's defense will likely rest on whether Azir's aggressive role in the crime constituted entrapment – a strategy which Baxter's defense attorney John Pyle foreshadowed at an early court appearance. 'They couldn't blow their noses, let alone blow up a bridge,' he said of his clients, 'were it not for what this provocateur did.' Yet the government has had no problem overcoming the entrapment defense to win convictions in similar cases. The legal definition of entrapment is actually rather narrow: Even though enticing people into committing crimes might seem unjust, that doesn't make it unlawful. Prosecutors typically argue that defendants' histories show they were predisposed to commit the crime. And juries frightened by the magnitude of the foiled plots are inclined to bring down the hammer.
"In the case of the Cleveland Five, defense attorneys have also signaled their intention to reveal Azir's extensive criminal history, which could undermine his credibility. Azir has been causing prosecutors plenty of headaches since the arrests. After his identity was outed by the Smoking Gun, the FBI scuttled him into the witness-protection program, reportedly in response to a threat. But living life under federal protection hasn't kept him out of trouble. In May, Azir – who still faces two outstanding bad-check cases he picked up during his time with Occupy – was arrested in Cuyahoga County for theft. He's out on $5,000 bail."
PUBLISHED: Oct. 2, 2012
LENGTH: 27 minutes (6799 words)
How Lisette Lee, a privileged young woman with ties to the Samsung fortune, turned to drug trafficking:
"Lee would go on to tell federal authorities a lot of things about herself: that she was a famous Korean pop star as well as the heiress to the Samsung electronics fortune; she was so emphatic on this last point that on police paperwork agents listed 'heiress' as her occupation. Back at home in L.A., Lee called herself the 'Korean Paris Hilton' and played the part of the spoiled socialite, with two Bentleys, a purse-size lap dog and, especially, her commanding, petulant personality that kept her posse of sycophants in check. It was as though Lisette Lee had studied some Beverly Hills heiress's handbook: how to dress, how to behave, how to run hot and cold to keep people in her thrall – in short, how to be a modern celebrity. But all of that would begin to unravel – amid the crowd and confusion on the Columbus tarmac that June 2010 evening – once a drug-sniffing German shepherd padded over to the van and sat down, signaling a hit.
"Agents threw open the van doors. Inside the suitcases were more than 500 pounds of marijuana in shrink-wrapped bricks. In Lee's crocodile purse were three cellphones, $6,500 in cash, a baggie of cocaine and a hotel notepad scrawled with weights and purchase prices totaling $300,000: a drug ledger."
PUBLISHED: Aug. 31, 2012
LENGTH: 32 minutes (8007 words)
A Minnesota school district enacts a policy designed to stop teachers from discussing or acknowledging homosexuality. Gay students report bullying, but administrators do nothing. The result is a string of suicides that has shaken the community:
"Sam's death lit the fuse of a suicide epidemic that would take the lives of nine local students in under two years, a rate so high that child psychologist Dan Reidenberg, executive director of the Minnesota-based Suicide Awareness Voices of Education, declared the Anoka-Hennepin school district the site of a 'suicide cluster,' adding that the crisis might hold an element of contagion; suicidal thoughts had become catchy, like a lethal virus. 'Here you had a large number of suicides that are really closely connected, all within one school district, in a small amount of time,' explains Reidenberg. 'Kids started to feel that the normal response to stress was to take your life.'
"There was another common thread: Four of the nine dead were either gay or perceived as such by other kids, and were reportedly bullied."
PUBLISHED: Feb. 3, 2012
LENGTH: 28 minutes (7243 words)
The first thing Kiki Ostrenga saw as she ran out the front door of her family's white ranch house were the neon-green words spray-painted across the front path: "Regal Slut." She stopped short. Maybe this is just a dream, she thought. The 14-year-old took a few fearful steps forward. She gasped when she reached the driveway. Her parents' home was splattered with ketchup, chocolate syrup and eggs. And across the garage door, big as a billboard, was scrawled the word "SLUT."
PUBLISHED: April 18, 2011
LENGTH: 25 minutes (6281 words)
Our latest exclusive comes from Sabrina Rubin Erdely, a writer for Rolling Stone. "When Your Therapist Drives You Crazy," first published in 2002 for Philadelphia magazine, is about a woman who enters marriage counseling—but ends up consumed by something much bigger.
"The vibe at Genesis was equally informal and New Agey, from the burbling waterfall machine to the framed inspirational poems, including one that read 'Feel…Feel…Feel….' Even the practice's logo was touchy-feely: two overlapping hearts with a butterfly perched on top. Still, Mansmann didn't seem flaky, and Carol noted with relief that the therapist and John quickly developed a good rapport. Mansmann explained that Genesis Associates—consisting of herself and another therapist, Pat Neuhausel—was a cutting-edge practice with a uniquely holistic outlook. (Both Mansmann and Neuhausel declined to be interviewed.) Its program was so effective, Mansmann added, that clients tended to show rapid improvements.
"'How long do you think it would take us?' Carol inquired.
"'About thirteen months,' Mansmann answered immediately, according to Carol.
"She was surprised at the precision of the reply. 'Thirteen months?'
"'That's how long our program is,' she says Mansmann affirmed. 'Unless you were to come up with something else. Like, maybe, incest.'"
PUBLISHED: Feb. 1, 2002
LENGTH: 26 minutes (6550 words)