When the story of Amber Wyatt’s ordeal was published, we invited readers to submit questions about the article. As of Friday afternoon, we received some 670 submissions. Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked. If you have additional questions, please ask away.
Why didn’t you name the accused?
This was a hard decision, and a source of agonizing arguments among the editorial team as we worked on this piece. In the end, we came down on the side of not naming the two boys accused of the assault for the following reasons:
As a general rule, The Post doesn’t name minors convicted of crimes. These two boys were each 17 — technically legal adults in Texas at the time — at the time of the alleged assault. But the accused were never charged. Perhaps of some relevance, Texas is currently considering legislation, pushed by juvenile justice reform advocates, which would require that 17-year-olds be tried as minors, not as adults. In the end, we decided to err on the side of caution, think of them essentially as minors and to forgo naming them.
Why did it take so long to report this story? Is that normal?
No, it’s not normal.
It took three years to report this story because I had, for the majority of the time, day jobs, first at the New Republic and then as an editor here at The Post. At that point, I was working on this story on my own time — evenings, weekends, holidays. That slowed things down, as did giving birth and going on maternity leave. Things really started moving quickly when I came on board with Opinions here at The Post this year.
Did you purposefully release it during the Kavanaugh hearings?
No, that’s a complete coincidence.
What was Amber’s reaction?
You can read about Amber’s happy-overwhelmed-relieved reaction in an epilogue. She is doing well and has a remarkable support network. I have been in touch with her and her parents every day since the day before the piece was published, and will be around as long as I’m useful. Knowing Amber’s innate strength, the initial rush of attention and curiosity won’t disturb her at all in the long run.
Why is this story published in the Opinions section?
In short: Not because everything in the story is simply my opinion, but because I’m an opinions writer. In addition, because of my personal involvement, this did not fall into the category of a news story.
I reported Amber’s story like any other investigative feature. But I didn’t write it up like that: I also included quite a bit of my own meditations on what I learned, and offered my own analysis of the facts. (Thus all the Montaigne and Wordsworth jazz.) The reporting was as thoroughly vetted and fact-checked as any other reporting to appear in The Post; the analysis — my reflections on cruelty, vulnerability and human nature — is yours to make of what you will.
Read the story: