In a small, rough-edged town not far from Houston, nineteen men and boys await trial for unspeakable acts—the repeated gang rape of an 11-year-old girl. Good god, you think: How could so many men treat a child so brutally? And how could so many people leap to their defense? “Seven of the adults had criminal records or charges pending. … The weight of their individual experiences—sexually, criminally, even their high school education and their work experience, fatherhood, lives already on the skid or in frustrating limbo—all of this put these men years and years ahead of a sixth grader. Compared to her, they had a terrible gravity.”