Susan R. Sloan. Guilt by Association (1995) 496 pp.
December 22, 1962: Karen Kern, a pretty, confident Cornell co-ed, is brutally raped and beaten in New York’s Central Park. She had met her attacker, a Harvard law student named Bob, at a Christmas party and had agreed to let him walk her home to a relative’s house. As she struggled with her recovery, the police quickly abandoned their “investigation,” her family assumed she must have done something to cause the attack and insisted on calling it an “accident,” and her fiancé, upon learning the truth, soon stopped calling her and then married someone else. As the years pass, Karen’s life takes a dramatically different path than the one she had planned for herself. The rapist’s life, however, goes exactly according to plan. Robert Drayton Willmont is from an elite, old San Francisco family. He succeeds his father as a partner in a prestigious San Francisco law firm, wins a Congressional seat, wins a Senate seat, and becomes a front-runner for a Presidential nomination in 1991. About this time, Karen, now married with three stepdaughters, relocates to San Francisco and soon learns that the man who got away with raping and nearly murdering her, is being tapped as the man who will turn America around. After volunteering to work on Willmont’s campaign, Karen accepts a ride home from him one evening and is assaulted in Golden Gate Park. This time, however, she presses charges and ends up with a jury trial. Can she really have been raped by the same man twice, thirty years apart? Or is she executing an elaborate revenge scheme to bring down the man who thought he was above the law?