When Tom and Stacey Branchini drove their daughter, Alexa, to Boston University in September 1999 to begin her freshman year, the last thing they expected was a call ten days later telling them their daughter had been raped in her dormitory and was in a Boston hospital.
Alexa reported the attack immediately to the police, and the rapist was apprehended before he even had a chance to leave campus. Alexa was alive, she was safe, but her life was changed forever.
Alexa was one of the few rape victims whose ordeal actually resulted in a trial and the conviction of her assailant. Her family was with her, both psychologically and physically, flying from Buffalo to Massachusetts to support her during a grueling trial.
She withstood attempts by the defense to delay the trial, as a tactic to break her will. The family spent 27 days in Boston for the trial, and Alexa persevered. The man who raped her was sentenced to 40-45 years in prison without parole.
The Branchinis could not imagine their daughter having to go through the ordeal of a trial alone. Going back to the crime scene, reliving the ordeal in order to prepare for trial, then actually being in the courtroom with the rapist who assaulted her are all too much for anyone to face alone.
The Branchini’s support throughout the process was possible only because they could afford the airfare, hotel fees and other expenses incurred when he and his wife traveled to be by Alexa's side.
The It Happened to Alexa Foundation was born out of this conviction. Tom and Stacey Branchini--the founders--and their fellow board members intend to assist rape victims and their families by easing the financial burden they face while traveling to attend the criminal trial.