Girl, Interrupted

The Ordeal That Binds the Mother of an Incest Victim and Reverend Al Sharpton

"Joy and I just couldn't deal with it," he reflects today. Sharpton and Joy grew up to despise their father: To them, no story he could concoct could explain why he had seduced someone he'd considered his own flesh and blood.

After the reconciliation, Sharpton and Joy began to see more of Tina and her impressionable 10-year-old boy. Sharpton resented Tina, but "loved Kenny" because Kenny, Joy, and he "were victims" in this family nightmare. After Tina's marriage failed, she and Kenny moved to Alabama. But 10 years ago, Kenny discovered the truth about his father and turned to a life of crime, according to Sharpton.

Sharpton pledges to reach out to Joycelyn Charles and work closely with her to help her realize her dream of running a child-advocacy center. The civil rights leader and former mayor Ed Koch have been pushing a second-chance program for nonviolent offenders. Sharpton says, however, that he empathizes with Charles's fear about the possible release of her daughter's rapist and would urge the parole board to keep him locked up if the allegation that he intends to kill the family upon his release is substantiated. "If it's true that he wants this family dead after he is released he's not asking for a second chance," Sharpton argues. "Repentence comes before redemption."


Additional reporting: Danielle Douglas

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