A serial rape suspect unwittingly helped Lynnwood police track him down in Colorado.
Photographs kept on a memory card seized by detectives from a Colorado home led police to reopen a cold case against the former Mountlake Terrace man.
Prosecutors in Snohomish County on Monday filed bu
rglary, kidnapping and rape charges against Marc P. O’Leary, 32.
Detectives investigating a series of rapes in Colorado discovered images of a Lynnwood woman who reported in 2008 that she had been sexually assaulted in her apartment. One photograph was of the woman, then 18, with her identification card placed on her bare chest. It included her name and date of birth.
The pictures gave credibility to the woman’s story that Lynnwood police once thought was fabricated. Police in 2008 referred charges of false reporting to the Lynnwood city prosecutor after her story changed.
She was represented by a public defender and eventually pleaded guilty in Lynnwood Municipal Court. A judge granted her a deferred sentence and she was ordered to undergo mental health counseling and pay a $500 fine. The charge was dismissed in April 2010 once the woman met all the conditions of her sentence.
Detectives reopened the rape case after travelling to Colorado a few weeks ago to meet with investigators. Police there suspect O’Leary in four Denver-area rapes. He also is a suspect in an attempted sexual assault in Kirkland, according to court papers.
When O’Leary was arrested at his Colorado home in February, detectives seized a memory card with more than 400 photographs of a sexual assault on a 41-year-old Golden, Colo., woman. They later found photographic evidence from the Lynnwood case. Many photos matched descriptions the Lynnwood woman gave detectives in 2008.
Detectives in Colorado reported that they also found items belonging to the victims.
Court papers filed Monday indicated the Lynnwood victim submitted to a sexual assault exam, offered to take a polygraph test, provided a hand-written statement and spoke with investigators on the day she was raped.
Lynnwood police interviewed the woman several times and opened a rape investigation.
Her story changed and details appeared to be inconsistent, police said.
“She later recanted in subsequent conversations with investigators,” according to court papers. People who know the woman also spoke to detectives and expressed doubts about the woman’s story.
Detectives in 2008 didn’t know about O’Leary, who lived in Washington from 2006 to 2009.
Colorado detectives provided information to the Lynnwood police that was strikingly similar to the story told by the woman in 2008.
In each case, the attacker meticulously photographed the sexual assaults, bound the women’s hands and used latex gloves.
There was forensic evidence collected during the investigation in Lynnwood three years ago, police said.
The Lynnwood woman said she was confronted by a man holding a knife in the bedroom of her apartment on Aug. 11, 2008.
The woman is cooperating with Lynnwood investigators. She has met with the department’s domestic violence advocate and also has been referred to Family and Friends of Violent Crime Victims, an Everett-based advocacy group.
O’Leary allegedly told an acquaintance that he was in a secret society and that he believed he was an “alpha” entitled to have sex with whomever he wanted, according to court papers.
Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446, firstname.lastname@example.org.