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"Ron, why did you attack Tracy like that?"
"I... I just got mad. She always used to tell lies about me. And then I'd get spanked."
"And you thought she was going to lie about you here and we'd believe her. And maybe we wouldn't love you anymore."
"Did you ever hit her before?"
"Oh, no. I was always scared. She'd make me pay."
"What kind of lies did she tell about you?"
"Well, there was this boy, Bobby Truman. He and I used to play ball together after school. But Tracy, she said she'd caught us in my room, playing..." It was obvious that she'd reached something she could barely talk about.
I went and knelt next to her chair. "She said you were fooling around with Bobby?"
"With our pants down!" she wailed. "I never did anything like that. And he spanked me really hard, and called me names and said I was just like my mother, just another..."
"Yeah." I put my arms around her. Determination had carried her this far, but she now looked pretty defeated.