Lindsey Schwartz is a “48 Hours” producer. She investigated the case of serial rapist Marc Patrick O’Leary for the “48 Hours” episode “The Hunted.” The episode airs Saturday, Nov. 19, at 10 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.
From 2008 to 2011, Marc Patrick O’Leary stalked and raped women around the Denver area. His crimes were hard to pinpoint or to fit into a certain profile because he was simply looking for easy access and he preyed on fear.
There was not a certain age or look of the women he attacked. In the end, a team of amazing detectives solved this crime – not only because of their detailed and dedicated police work, but also because of the strong women who were able to piece together a picture of this predator. We spoke to many of his victims; some chose to go on camera and some did not.
For some, the trauma of the ordeal sits just below the surface, in a dark box that they do not want to open again. For others, talking was a way to put it behind them and they are hopeful that their strength will give a voice to other women who have been raped or attacked.
In covering crime for “48 Hours,” oftentimes, we as reporters deal with victims who are deceased. They no longer have a voice. It is our job to be their voice, through friends and family and anyone involved in their story.
In the case of Marc O’Leary, the victims are alive; they are going to work, raising families and trying to move on. Each one has to find her own path -- and we as reporters have to walk a fine line in telling a haunting story like this without re-traumatizing these women.
“Mary,” a 65-year-old victim, living in Aurora, Colo., struggled with wanting to tell her story. On the one hand, she was determined not to let Marc O’Leary take anything from her or “win.” But on the other hand, she wanted to just move on with her life. I met with Mary several times and her calm, kind nature made it easy to discuss very difficult topics with her. She did not want to be a victim, and she genuinely lived without fear or anger.
Mary chose to talk on camera using a different name and partially disguised. I was inspired by her strength and am I hopeful that others will be too.
One of the reasons this story was so powerful for our team was that we spent time with and saw firsthand the passion and dedication of the detectives, Stacy Galbraith and Edna Hendershot, and FBI Agent, Jonathan Grusing. These are people who deal with crime every single day, but this case stayed with them and they were inspired and motivated by the women. They all still keep in touch with the victims in this case.
Every one of these women has dealt with this tragedy in her own way. Some retreated and some have spoken out. For all the women who we spoke to, even those that chose not to go on camera, their resilience was very inspirational. This story will stay with me because of their incredible strength.