This book is suitable for reading in the Pacific Northwest gloomy winter. The protagonist, Marie had a broken family. Her parents divorced and ignored her. She moved from one foster family to another, eventually settled down with Peggy in Lynwood, WA, — a mere 30 minutes drive from my residence. Marie also maintained a close relationship with Shannon from here previous foster family. Supported by Project Ladder, a non-profit organization dedicated to help the foster kids’ transitions to adulthood, she secured a subsidized apartment. She worked on retail, acquired a leaner’s permit, — she was on her journey towards independence.
On Aug 10, 2008, a mere three months after Marie celebrated her 18th birthday, she was raped in her apartment by Marc Patrick O’Leary, a meticulous serial sex predator. Marc often spent several weeks observing his victims. Employing techniques learned from the military, he followed strict protocols aimed at minimizing his biological presence at the crime scene. These measures included the consistence of use glove and condoms, compelling the victim to take a 20-minute shower thereafter, and removing any traceable bedding from the premises.
The Lynwood Policy Department found little bio evidence in the crime scene, coupled with unusually composed reaction from Marie and inconsistencies in her statements; the sergeant leading the investigation began to scrutinize the credibility of the allegations. Peggy also cast doubts, suggesting that Marie might seek attention for recent purchase requests.
The lead creator of End Violence Against Women International, Joanne Archambault claimed the people tend to focus on the victim’s behaviors due to the intimate nature of sexual violence, and pointed out
The victim’s response to the trauma of a sexual assault should not be used in any way to measure credibility.
The Lynwood Police Department called in Marie for questioning without the presence of legal representation or the formal declaration of Miranda Rights. Notably, they employed the John E. Reid technique, a method known for its use of intimidation and deception to elicit confessions from suspects.
Marie recanted, and her world was upside down. Those in her social circle blamed her as the reason no one believed real victim of rape1. Almost all her friends deserted her, some of them painted her a whore and lier. To retain her subsidized apartment, she reluctantly followed the instructions of the Project Ladder manager to confess in front of fellow tenants. She was prosecuted by the Lynwood Policy Department for False reporting, which she then pleaded guilty and paid $500 fines. The situation pushed her to the brink, contemplating to leap from the bridge, if her friend Ashley had extended a hand.
Marc presented a modern-day embodiment of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, grappling with a dark side deeply entrenched in sadomasochism, bondage, and rape since his youth. Seeking to control these inclinations, he enlisted in the military. He met a cocktail waitress, Marsha, and got married in 2004. Concealing his dark side, he struggled to project his lust onto women he was personally acquainted with.
After several failed attempts in South Korea, he moved back to United States and practice there. He studied how the sexual crime investigated from textbook such as Rape Investigation Handbook, and followed a strict protocol to minimize the bio footprint. After Marie, Marc then raped:
- Doris in Aurora in October 2009
- Lily in Lakewood(failed) on July 6, 2010
- Sarah in Westminster
- Amber in Golden
The detectives managed to establish connections between these sexual assaults by identifying the recurring patterns. Researchers also found that rapist were far more likely to be serial offenders, one-fourth to two-thirds of rapists committed multiple sexual assaults. Despite the inadequacy of DNA samples for a comprehensive database search, Y-STR verified the offenders were the same individual or shared familial ties.
The detectives undertook a meticulous cross-referencing of vehicles present at the crime scenes, singling out the white Mazda truck. Utilizing the license plate reader deployed by the highway patrol, they successfully identified the owner of the vehicle, leading to a raid on Marc’s residence.
The findings were staggering, as investigators uncovered sneakers that matched the footprints found at the crime scenes, women’s underwear stashed as souvenirs within a guitar amplifier, Marie’s missing camera, and a folder containing tens of gigabytes of files encrypted with TrueCrypt. Forensic experts successfully retrieved thousands of photos from a formatted SD card in one of Marc’s cameras.
The intimate crime
“Research shows the more intimate the crime, the more people focus on the victim’s behavior, and of course, there’s no crime more intimate than sexual violence,” says Joanne Archambault, the founder of End Violence Against Women International (EVAWI). It is a detestable crime, and the public prefers the police focusing on the gangs and murders in general.
The hesitancy and skepticism surrounding sexual crimes can trace back to 1671, as highlighted by Sir Mathew Hale, the British Chief of Justice at that time:
It must be remembered, that it is an accusation easy to be made and hard to be proved, and harder to be defended by the party accused, tho never so innocent.
John Henry Wigmore, the co-founder of Harvard Law Review, also proposed the court should evaluate the plaintiff’s social background and mental health before taking the allegation seriously.
In the mid-1970s, Martha “Marty” Goddard founded a non-profit, Citizens Committee for Victim Assistance. Collaborated with Chicago Police Department Sergeant Louis Vitullo, Martha designed the rape kit to standardize the evidence collection. This initiative was sponsored by the Playboy foundation with $10,000 and the Playboy’s office as an workshop.
While the rape kit formalized the procedure for collecting biological evidence, the lack of public interest and deprioritization by police departments often left them neglected. In 2009, a Detroit district assistant prosecutor discovered 11,341 untested rape kits in a warehouse, “furred with dust.” The White House estimated a national backlog of 400 thousand untested kits in the same year.
Sexual crimes are inherently intimate, consensual intercourse can appear the same as being raped at gunpoint. The victims might exhibit a diverse range of reactions, and recall details weeks after the incident. The victim’s response should not be used to measure the credibility in any circumstance.
- The Baltimore Country Policy Department dismissed 34 percent of rape allegations as false or baseless from 2009 to 2014.↩