Produced by Chris O’Connell, Lauren Clark and Lindsey Schwartz
“I knew that she lived alone. I knew that she was vulnerable … You know, I had kind of a moment of weakness I guess.”
It was just after midnight in Aurora, Colorado, 10 miles outside Denver. A woman, who we will call Mary, had no idea she was being stalked by a strange man.
“I brought a gun to that one … and I saw that the bedroom light was on. Uh, so I knew she was there.”
“But as a single woman, it just never occurred to you that you were vulnerable—living by yourself?” “48 Hours” correspondent Maureen Maher asked Mary.
“No,” she replied.
In October of 2009, Mary, a 65-year old grandmother, was jarred awake by a large masked man. He climbed on top of her, tied her up, cut off her clothes and for the next four hours, brutally raped her.
“Every woman kinda has a different reaction. …you know, would kinda be paralyzed with fear … just start screaming right at the top of their lungs. ..Others, would, you know, be quiet.”
“I just screamed and he just told -- kept telling me to shut up.” Mary said. “He had a black mask. And the only thing that showed was his eyes … and he had-- a gun in his bag. If I didn’t shut up, he would --he would kill me.”
“I just lived moment to moment. Whatever he told me to do, I did it,” she said.
“Did you ever think, ‘I’m gonna try to escape’?” Maher asked.
“I never felt like I had the opportunity,” Mary replied.
Then, as if all that hadn’t been enough of a violation, he pulled out a camera and photographed her.
“Did he threaten you with the pictures?” Maher asked Mary.
“Yes. He told me that if I call the police, he would put it on the internet,” she replied.
When he was done, he went about carefully cleaning anything that could have any trace of his DNA, stripping bed sheets and removing her clothes from the scene. Finally, he brought Mary to the bathroom and ordered her into the bathtub.
“When he told me to fill the bathtub … that really made me nervous,” Mary explained.
“Did you think he was going to kill you?” Maher asked.
“I thought he was gonna drown me,” she said.
He warned her not to come out of the bathroom until he left. She waited like he told her in that bathtub, cold and frightened, for more than an hour.
“What was going through your mind in that hour?” Maher asked.
“’Is he gone? Is he gone? I wonder if he’s gone,’” Mary replied.
Investigators were able to find some of the rapist’s DNA on a teddy bear in Mary’s house. But when they ran it through national databases, they couldn’t find a match and Mary’s case went cold.
Two years later and 25 miles away, Golden, Colorado, police detective Stacy Galbraith was just starting her shift when a call came in.
“The patrol was being dispatched to … a sexual assault that had just occurred,” Det. Galbraith explained.
Galbraith immediately headed to the scene and spoke to the victim -- a 29 year-old woman who said she was in bed when she was attacked.
“She remembered hearing a noise, and then a masked person came into her bedroom, straddled her, and he threatened to shoot her. …he had a gun with him,” the detective explained. “He sexually assaulted her, photographed her, and had her take a shower and then left.”
Crime scene technicians found little evidence.
“…he took everything that we could’ve … collected DNA from,” Galbraith said. “He took the bed covers. … He instructed her, you know, to use soap, to use toothpaste, to basically wash away, or take away any of the evidence that we needed to -- to solve the case.”
But the victim did remember that the attacker was white and blond, because she could see the hair on his arms.
“This victim was very articulate. She wasn’t, you know, visibly shaken. She wasn’t crying, she wasn’t emotional,” said Galbraith.
She was able to sketch an image of a masked man and a distinctive egg shaped birthmark she saw on his calf.
“So she was able to give all these very … detailed bits of information that at some point in the investigation, these are things I’m gonna be looking for,” Galbraith told Maher.
Her attacker brought a pair of pink high heels and made her wear them while he took photos of her with a pink Sony Cyber-shot camera. Outside the victim’s apartment, a security camera recorded a suspicious white Mazda truck, but the plates were not visible. And in the snow, a single shoeprint.
“…and it came back as an Adidas,” Det. Galbraith explained. “And so we knew if we could … find the right person and they were wearing that shoe or had that shoe … we could be a little bit closer.”
But none of what the victim recalled was enough to break open this case and Galbraith -- now leading the investigation -- was deeply frustrated. Later that night, she did what many married people do and vented to her spouse. Her husband just happened to be a police officer over in a neighboring town.
“And he immediately just kinda looked at me and said, ‘You know, I think we’ve had … that here … recently,’” she said. “And what he picked up on was that they were made to shower for a certain time period … and basically wash away the evidence.”
First thing the next morning, her husband put her in touch with Detective Edna Hendershot, the lead investigator on that case 19 miles away in Westminster, Colo.
“It seemed pretty obvious that there was some connection,” said Det. Hendershot.
Both of their departments assigned the detectives to work together on the cases. The description of the attacker was almost exactly the same.
“A white male -- about 6’2”, 180,” said Galbraith.
“…he had light colored hair,” said Hendershot.
“She also described him as a little bit chubby,” Galbraith added.
“I said, ‘My victim had a pink Sony Cyber-shot camera that was stolen from her.’ And Stacy immediately keyed on that and said, ‘My victim was photographed with a pink Sony Cyber-shot camera,’” said Hendershot.
What’s more, Detective Hendershot was able to link the rape of 65-year-old Mary, in Aurora, to the same attacker. That made for three attacks in two years. And at Hendershot’s crime scene in Westminster, there was another piece of evidence.
“Turned out to be glove impressions that were alongside the railing outside of the apartment where the Westminster victim lived,” she said.
“So not quite a fingerprint,” Maher noted.
“Definitely not a fingerprint. But … impressions from a glove,” Det. Hendershot explained. “And we described them as a honeycomb pattern.”
“What’s the profile on this guy -- who do you have in your mind? Who is this guy?” Maher asked.
“We were thinking potentially military … he knew what he was doing. … I was kinda scared maybe he could be in law enforcement,” Galbraith replied. “I kinda felt like, ‘Do any of my cops here look like -- look like this guy? Does anyone have this mark on his leg that my victim is -- is describing?’”
“Most of your time is spent fantasizing and hunting. …Once you kinda decide … you kinda almost go past the point of no return.”
In all the cases, the rapist told his victims he’d been stalking them for months -- watching their every move and breaking into their homes during test runs. If they couldn’t stop him soon, they knew he would strike again.
“I definitely felt like we were up against the clock. It was ticking. I could hear it. I could feel it,” Galbraith told Maher. “I felt like we just had to get him off the street.”
“He’s hunting for his victim, and then the next victim, and then the next victim,” said Galbraith.
“Did you ever consider that he may be a serial killer and not just a serial rapist?” Maher asked.
“I think everything was on the table … at that point in time,” said Hendershot.
LINKING THE EVIDENCE
Colorado detectives Stacy Galbraith and Edna Hendershot were working overtime to find the pattern behind the attacks.
“He was educated enough to know what we were looking for and know what he needed to take to throw us off,” Det. Galbraith said. “He was experienced with what he was doing. …probably be a little bit difficult to find.”
“As you get more proficient, you start making less mistakes.”
“Our victims spanned age ranges. The victim in Aurora was in her 60s. …the victim in Golden was in her 20s. The Westminster victim was 59 years old,” Det. Hendershot explained. “Trying to figure out what is it they have in common that would make them targets for this particular individual, that was very frustrating.”
“Because there was no consistency,” Maher noted.
“There was not,” Hendershot affirmed.
“Other than that they were women,” said Maher.
But there were pieces of a puzzle: that gloveprint on a railing in Westminster, the Adidas shoeprint in the snow in Golden, and a pink camera used to photograph them during the attacks. But there was nothing to pull the entire picture together.
“He was counting on the fact that we wouldn’t talk to one another, that we wouldn’t reach out, that we wouldn’t communicate. That’s what he was counting on,” said Det. Hendershot.
But he certainly wasn’t counting on them looking for help, which they did, when they formed a task force with local prosecutors, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation and the FBI. On that task force was veteran FBI Special Agent Jonny Grusing.
“Did you have a sense that he’s gonna strike again?” Maher asked Agent Grusing.
“Absolutely,” he replied.
Grusing scoured area police files for similar attacks and found a report in nearby Lakewood that was labeled a home invasion. But when he looked closer, he saw it was a failed rape attempt; the victim describing a masked man.
“… around 2:33 in the morning she heard a dragging sound coming down the hall … that woke her up and she saw a large, masked man in her doorway holding a knife,” Grusing said. “Then, he straddled her, made her go face down. However … she was able to actually lift up, turn around, and face the man. And … tell him that he was not supposed to be there and this was not going to happen.”
“She’s willing it not to happen at this point?” Maher asked.
“Correct,” Grusing replied. “She was very brave.”
The woman started screaming a man’s name, yelling for help. The attacker thought someone else might be in the Lakewood house.
“And he makes the decision he’s going to let her go for a second and check the room. And by the time he jumps off of her and checks the room, she gets on her bed and dives out a window that is about one foot high by four feet wide onto the concrete outside,” Grusing explained. “She shattered her vertebra, that two ribs were broken, and her lung was punctured from that fall. But she still got up, ran to her neighbor’s house, and called the police.”
Her police file had been sitting dormant for half a year when the Denver-area task force finally came across it. That one case turned out to be a treasure trove full of evidence and information that definitively linked all the attacks together.
“The evidence in the Lakewood case was absolutely key in linking this to one attacker,” Hendershot said. “Specifically, each piece of evidence from one of the other assaults had a connection to the Lakewood case. For example, the glove like this. This glove pattern was found in the Lakewood case. And this pattern was also found in the Westminster case. “
And remember that Adidas shoeprint in the snow in Golden? There was a perfect match in Lakewood. Then, at the end of a long task force meeting, a mention of a suspicious white vehicle seen at the Lakewood attack.
“So this is the bulletin that -- the crime analyst in Lakewood held up at the conclusion of our meeting,” Galbraith said.
The bulletin described a white Mazda pickup truck.
“That was when I am like, ‘OK … we had a white truck’ and it’s just like that,” Det. Galbraith said. “I just knew in my heart that that was -- that was it. That -- for that truck to be in that neighborhood in Lakewood, and also be in mine? …That had to be significant.”
Now, the task force had a plate number and when they dug through their database, they came across a picture of the truck with a white man standing next to it, about 6 feet tall.
“So when I saw this truck and the man standing next to the truck, I thought that that looked like what all the victims who had been attacked described,” Galbraith told Maher. “That was that ‘aha’ moment.”
“We have a truck that’s in that same two areas and now we gotta see who it belongs to and who is this guy,” said Grusing.
“And who was that guy?” Maher asked.
“Marc O’Leary,” Grusing replied.
“Had you ever heard that name before?” Maher asked.
“No,” said Grusing.
“Was he on anybody’s radar?”
“No,” said Grusing.
Marc Patrick O’Leary -- a man fitting the very profile described by several of the victims. He had a military career that took him all over the world, from Washington State to Korea. The 32-year-old O’Leary was separated from his wife and studying at a local community college.
“Did he have any prior criminal history whatsoever?” Maher asked.
“Insignificant,” said Hendershot.
“No assaults?” Maher asked.
“No,” said Galbraith.
“No violent crime,” said Maher.
“No,” said Galbraith.
“Nothing to indicate that this guy was capable of what he was being accused of,” Maher continued.
“Nothing like that,” said Galbraith.
“I mean, you got the truck. You got the guy. You got an address. He’s right there. Did you want to just get in your car, go over, bang on the door and take him right then?” Maher asked Galbraith.
“No, we couldn’t do that yet,” she replied.
“I know you couldn’t, but did you want to?” Maher quipped.
“Well, we needed to make sure,” said Galbraith.
“And so it became important at that point in time to start conducting surveillance on him -- attempt to get the DNA from this individual,” Hendershot explained.
Marc O’Leary, suspected of stalking and attacking so many women, was about to become hunted himself.
PIECES OF A PUZZLE
The task force finally had a viable suspect in Marc O’Leary, and Agent Grusing’s team didn’t have to wait long for things to pick up fast.
“We’re in Lakewood, Colorado,” Grusing explained. “And this is the neighborhood where we set up on Marc O’Leary’s residence. …we waited and watched.”
“And they see … the truck leave. And it looks like the registered owner gets in it with a female,” said Det. Galbraith.
As part of the team followed the couple to lunch at a restaurant, Grusing stayed behind, hoping to install a surveillance camera on the house. But first, he needed to make sure no one else was home.
“I’d walked up through this driveway. We knocked on that white door where the light is,” Grusing told Maher as they stood in front of O’Leary’s house. “And Marc O’Leary appeared in the doorway.”
“Which you were not expecting?” Maker asked.
“I was not expecting it,” said Grusing.
He really wasn’t. He thought he just saw O’Leary drive off in the truck.
“And what was his demeanor when he came to the door?” Maher asked Grusing.
“He looked a little surprised. He was curious I would say, more than anything to see why would we even be knocking on his door,” he replied.
“So you had to do a little tap dance. What happened?” Maher asked.
“I pulled out the flyer that I had ready,” Grusing said. “And it was of a person we were looking for in another investigation.
“He looked at the sketch, said it did not look familiar … He said that his brother lived there … with him,” Grusing continued. “We didn’t even know he had a brother until that moment.”
It turned out Grusing’s team was tailing Michael O’Leary, Marc’s younger brother, who looks an awful lot like him. They collected the cup that Michael drank out of at lunch, hoping that strain of DNA might match the DNA on that teddy bear, and other samples they obtained.
“And what did it reveal?” Maher asked Grusing.
“It revealed … that strain of male DNA from the O’Leary family was on all of our victims’ possessions,” he replied.
But they had no idea which O’Leary brother was responsible, so they went to find out.
“What are you feeling? …You’re this close to this guy,” Maher asked Galbraith.
“I’m ready, and I’m praying and hoping that … we don’t lose him somehow and someone else gets hurt,” she replied.
At 6 o’clock that Sunday morning, the team knocked on the O’Learys door, guns drawn, and Detective Galbraith found herself face to face with Marc O’Leary.
“He just went pale. Just, like, you could just kinda see the life go out of him for a second,” she said of his reaction.
“He had real baggy pants on, so I lifted each pant leg up. And I saw the egg-shaped birthmark on his calf,” she continued.
It was identical to that unusual birthmark that Galbraith’s victim had described on her attacker’s leg.
“I said, ‘Turn around, put your hands behind your back, you’re under arrest,’” said Galbraith.
They knew they finally had the right O’Leary in custody.
“It’s gratifying to finally put someone like that in handcuffs,” said Grusing.
Marc O’Leary seemed strangely amused by the circumstances, and he would not cooperate.
Marc O’Leary: I just need to talk to an attorney
“At that point, we were wanting to see what was in the house,” said Grusing.
A search warrant of his home yielded a gold mine.
“He had all of these things that he used to facilitate these assaults, just in places about the house,” Hendershot said, displaying what was found.
“Hidden in plain sight is how I would describe it,” said Galbraith.
“So in his closet … we came up with ... his shoes,” Galbraith said, showing them to Maher.
“What did you think?” Maher asked.
“I knew those were them,” Galbraith replied.
They were a perfect match to those shoeprints found near two of the crime scenes. Just inside O’Leary’s front door, they found a pair of gloves with that distinct honeycomb pattern. And that wasn’t all.
“This is a pink, Sony Cyber-shot camera that was collected from the office of O’Leary’s residence,” Galbraith explained. “He had kind of some bookshelves … And he had it just kind of propped up … on a shelf.”
It was the exact camera that was stolen from the Westminster victim and used to photograph the Golden victim. And then, perhaps most disturbingly, they came upon a backpack full of items O’Leary brought with him to perpetrate the rapes – including the pink high heels in Golden.
“You get quiet when you see them,” Maher commented to Galbraith of the evidence.
“Yeah. I actually haven’t seen these things beyond pictures,” she said.
“Why do you get quiet?” Maher asked.
“It’s just sad,” Galbraith replied.
“You know, it’s just a thing until you know the details of what the thing was used for,” said Maher.
“Right … You don’t usually find this, in my opinion, this much corroboration. This corroborated every, I mean, just tch, tch, tch,” Galbraith said as if checking off a list.
“He didn’t seem to be really working hard to hide everything,” Maher pointed out.
“He wasn’t expecting us,” said Galbraith.
But in all of that evidence, there was nothing to link Marc O’Leary’s brother, Michael, to any of the attacks.
“At this point in time, you do not believe he was involved with it in any way,” Maher noted to the detectives, who replied, “No.”
It was in Marc’s room -- in Marc’s possessions -- that the detectives would make a worrisome discovery: hard drives, containing hundreds of pictures – and not just of the four victims they knew of.
“There were photographs … that depicted … other women in what I think can only be characterized as a rape scenario,” said Jefferson County Deputy District Attorney Bob Weiner.
“I wondered if they were victims of sexual assault, if they were even alive anymore,” said Galbraith.
The investigators had to find them. In O’Leary’s phone, they found that he had called one woman numerous times. She wasn’t a victim -- she was actually O’Leary’s ex-girlfriend.
PREYING ON FEAR
In early 2011, then 35-year-old bartender Amy was unsure why the FBI would be calling her about her ex-boyfriend.
“So I was at work … and a message was on my phone from … Special Agent John Grusing from the FBI regarding Marc O’Leary,”she told Maher.
“He said, ‘I am sure you know what is going on with Marc O’Leary,’ and I said, ‘No, actually I don’t.’ And he said, ‘It’s been all over the news … he’s committed a series of rapes,’” she said.
It was hard for Amy to believe. She had met Marc O’Leary on the online dating site OkCupid in 2009, and the man she thought she knew presented himself very differently.
“He was pretty chivalrous and protective,” she said.
“Was he charming?” Maher asked.
“He was very charming … he was really fun to talk to. We talked for hours at a time quite frequently,” Amy replied. “There was lightness to him even though he had a dark sense of humor.”
But it didn’t last long for the couple.
“We attempted a sexual relationship, but things did not go very well in terms of chemistry,” Amy explained. “Marc needed the other person to be scared.”
“The fear … and the dominance,” Maher noted.
“Yes,” said Amy.
“Did you ever see that violent side of him?” Maher asked.
“No. I didn’t see any violence. …Like, I knew what he liked and what turned him on,” she explained. “But … I didn’t show him fear in any real way, and he knew I wasn’t scared. …It was tofu to somebody who wanted steak.”
Amy had no idea that when he wasn’t with her, O’Leary was out preying on women.
“I talked to Special Agent Grusing for a long time,” she said. “And then after I got off the phone, I went and threw up … it was pretty upsetting to me.”
As Amy struggled with Marc O’Leary’s arrest, a few miles away, a detective broke the news to Mary.
“And first I didn’t believe him, said, ‘You sure?’ And he says, ‘Yeah. We-- we got him.’ That’s what he said, ‘We got him,’” she said.
“Did you feel a sense of relief?” Maher asked.
“Oh my, yes, yes,” Mary replied. “There were so many victims. And he was so sick.”
Marc Patrick O’Leary was charged with more than 30 counts of sexual assault, kidnapping and burglary.
“…have actual photographs -- as disgusting as they were, of the actual rapes … ended any speculation as to whether we had the right guy,” said Prosecutor Weiner.
Faced with overwhelming evidence, O’Leary agreed to plead guilty to the sexual assault charges. But it was at his sentencing hearing, that fireworks really began.
Marc O’Leary in court: I am a sexually violent predator.
“Surprisingly … he has the chance to address the court as well. He took advantage of it,” said Galbraith.
Marc O’Leary in court: and I’m out of control. I’ve been out of control for a long time … Words are just inadequate to describe, uh, how just horrible I, you know, I’ve acted. …I can only hope that, you know, that my sentence today will satisfy them.
His sentence would more than satisfy: over 300 years in prison -- a staggering number.
“In some crazy way felt sorry for him,” Mary said. “He said he was going from one prison to another, so … he was in his own prison.”
And something else he said at the sentencing caught the detectives’ attention.
“He said that he would be willing to answer questions. And in law enforcement it’s -- that’s the, you know, that’s the green light,” said Galbraith.
They were about to get rare look into the mind of a serial rapist. Jonny Grusing took the lead, playing to O’Leary’s ego.
“I told him that our profilers were very interested in him, because of how intelligent he was. And he seemed to like that,” said Grusing.
Marc O’Leary to Grusing: You know, you’ll hear psychologists and shrinks will say that rape is a crime about power and control. That’s not accurate. Power and control are a means to an end. What turned me on is fear.
“He talked about how his pendulum would swing and he could not control it. …He would have to fill that need,” Grusing explained. “And that’s the monster talkin’ to him.”
Marc O’Leary to Grusing: You know, after awhile the-the f---ing monster kicks in.
“He never won any of these battles with the monster,” said Grusing.
Grusing saw that monster up close. O’Leary described his feelings after one of the rapes.
“And I still remember this moment -- that’s when he leaned back … and smiled,” said Grusing.
Marc O’Leary to Grusing: I got some satisfaction…. it was like I’d just eaten Thanksgiving dinner.
O’Leary says even as a child he had rape fantasies, but didn’t act on them until he was in the military on a tour of duty in Korea, where he tried, but failed, to rape two women. Back in the states, he was determined not to fail again.
Marc O’Leary to Grusing: I gotta do it for real and just be done with it.
“And then he decided that he was going to use his military training to figure out a way to stalk his victims,” Grusing explained, “to not be caught, and satisfy this urge that would come.”
O’Leary brought up one woman he’d been planning to attack.
Marc O’Leary to Grusing: Pech. I think it was. P-e-c-h.
Julie Pech, a single mom, who had no idea O’Leary was stalking her.
“I try not to live a paranoid life. I mean, I wanna think that people are good … And so, I don’t look for bad things,” Pech told Maher. “I suppose because I wasn’t looking for that, it just never occurred to me that it could happen.”
Marc O’Leary to Grusing: …checked out her house a couple of times. … I knew she had an alarm system, but she never used it.
“He was lining her up for an assault,” said Grusing.
Marc O’Leary to Grusing: And so I was walking around the back of her house one night … Just as I was walking by her back balcony, she opened the door.
“I saw him out there. And I said, ‘What the f--k are you doing here … Get outta here. I’m gonna call the police,’” Pech said. “And he just turned around, went down the stairs -- went out to the back, climbed over the fence, and left.”
Pech, unnerved, always set her home alarm after that. But she never thought about it again until the FBI called her.
“It was very hard for me to process it,” she said.
But the FBI didn’t tell her everything.
Marc O’Leary to Grusing: And Julie Pech … One night she left one of the windows open, so I climbed in … she was asleep in the bedroom….
“Did you know that at one point he was in the house and you were asleep?” Maher asked Pech.
“I did not know that,” she replied.
“Walking in and out of your house, taking things from your place?” Maher continued.
“No,” Pech replied. “No idea whatsoever.”
And what about those hard drives with the hundreds of photos of other women? O’Leary wasn’t willing to discuss anything that he had not pleaded guilty to.
O’Leary to Grusing: Yeah, I won’t tell you about any other cases.
Even behind bars, O’Leary wasn’t done tormenting women. Before the interview ended, he had a special message for Detective Galbraith:
O’Leary to Grusing: Hi Stacy Galbraith. Bet you wish you could have shot me.
“You know, I didn’t -- I didn’t sleep well that night,” said Galbraith.
It wouldn’t be the last sleepless night.
“We discovered another victim,” said Galbraith.
But what happened to that woman was far worse than the detectives could imagine.
Among the hundreds of photos found in Marc O’Leary’s home, a picture of a young woman bound and gagged stood out.
“In that case, he actually photographed her, like he’d done our other victims. But he, thoughtfully, photographed her with her driver’s license on her,” said Galbraith.
“So you knew exactly who she was,” Maher noted.
“Yes,” Galbraith affirmed.
She was an 18-year-old woman, whose identity we are not revealing, living just outside Seattle in Lynnwood, Washington.
“And did you contact that police department in Washington?” Maher asked.
“Oh, right away,” said Galbraith.
It turns out police knew about her. They even had a rape report from 2008, only they believed it was a false report.
“She reported that … She woke up to find an intruder in her bedroom standing at the doorway. He was armed with a knife. He approached her. Bound her hands behind her back. Gagged her. Blindfolded her. Had her roll over. …And then he raped her for a period of time,” said Lynwood Police Department Commander Rodney Cohnheim.
But during the investigation, they began to doubt the young woman’s truthfulness. One detective even threatened to charge her if she was lying. The woman gave an interview to NPR’s “This American Life.”
Victim: He told me that if I took a lie detector test and it came back I was lying, that he was going to take me to jail himself.
After that, she quickly changed her story.
“…she says that she thought that she may have dreamed that this occurred. And at one point, she said that it didn’t happen,” Commander Cohnheim said. “And ultimately, she was given a citation for false reporting.”
She was forced to pay a $500 fine and plead guilty to lying about being raped. Detective Galbraith couldn’t believe what she was reading.
“I actually felt emotional. I knew that was wrong, because I could prove their case now,” she said.
“And what was their response when you called and said, ‘Hey, you know that case of that young woman who you thought was lying and you charged her? Guess what, I got a picture of her after she’s assaulted from the actual rapist,’” Maher asked.
“They came out immediately,” Galbraith replied.
“I was stunned. …It’s an absolute nightmare. Everything that she told us was the absolute truth,” Cohnheim said. “She was isolated. Alone. And then, nobody believed her. …That’s a lot to digest.
The commander and his team headed straight to the young woman’s home. Three years had passed since she had reported her rape.
“She was very surprised to see us,” Cohnheim said. “And we told her what we had learned. She was stunned. She was quiet at first. She began to cry. It was heart-wrenching to know that she had lived with this alone for all those years.”
The woman’s charge was expunged from her record, her fine was reimbursed and she eventually settled a lawsuit with the police department for $150,000.
“We learned many lessons here at the Lynnwood Police Department on the heels of this investigation,” Cohnheim acknowledged. “We had outside groups come in to teach officers and detectives ways to investigate sexual assaults. …Not every victim of a violent crime reports it in the same way. …And that we need to understand that, as strange as some circumstances seem, they can be true.”
It’s an observation not gone unnoticed by the rapist himself.
O’Leary to Grusing: If Washington had just paid attention a little bit more, you know they’d probably – I probably would have been a person of interest, you know, earlier on.
O’Leary was charged with that woman’s rape and yet another similar sexual assault in Washington. He pleaded guilty in both cases, bringing the known number of victims to six. But Detectives Galbraith and Hendershot believe it doesn’t stop there.
“Absolutely, there’s more,” said Hendershot.
O’Leary had encrypted computers that investigators are still unable to open.
“It went to Quantico. It went to the FBI lab here,” Galbraith explained. “Nobody can get into it. And I was told that probably no one ever will.”
All of this begs the question, if Marc O’Leary was willing to give such explicit details about the terrible crimes they already knew he had committed, what possible horrific things was he still hiding on those hard drives?
“You think it’s worse?” Maher asked Grusing.
“Don’t know,” he replied. “The other thing we wonder is, could someone else have been involved?”
Ex-girlfriend Amy wonders the same thing.
“It sounds to me like maybe he’s protecting somebody else if he’s willing to fess up to everything that he’s done, but he’s not willing to turn over all of the information that he has,” she said.
But Mary is hoping other victims of O’Leary’s will come forward.
“Well, I think the big thing is just that rape victims don’t have to be ashamed,” Mary said. “He kept getting away with it. And he wanted to do it again. And each time he did it, he got a little more cocky about what he was doing and a little more dangerous.”
“And there’s no fear in your life now associated with it?” Maher asked.
“No. I won’t let it happen,” Mary replied.” I won’t let him instill fear in me. I don’t want anybody to do that to me.”
Her strength fuels the work Galbraith and Hendershot have committed their lives to.
“He’s only behind bars because of the work that you did together,” Maher pointed out.
“Right … but it’s not two people. Right? It’s not -- it’s not three people with Jonny involved,” Hendershot said. “It’s a whole group. It took the entire group.”
“Knowing that you… pulled someone like that, so horrible, out of society so that he can’t hurt anyone again, it was very, very rewarding,” Galbraith said. “This is why I do this.
Stacy Galbraith is now an agent for the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.
Edna Hendershot was promoted to the rank of sergeant with the Westminster Police Department.
Galbraith and Hendershot both stay in contact with the women Marc O’Leary attacked.