Who's the Hearst Rapist?
Status: Solved, and yet...
In February 2006, Dawn, a student of Hearst College, was raped after being drugged and having her head shaved. She did not report the assault. A month later, on the night of March 24, Stacy Wells, another student at Hearst, attended a party for potential freshmen and left with . She was sick and passed out in her room. Troy cleaned her up and put her to bed. After he left, Stacy was raped and her head was shaved. In August, Nancy Cooper reported that she was raped and her head shaved. On the night of September 30, Parker Lee, a freshman and Mac's roommate, attended a party at the Zeta Theta Beta sorority. She was driven home in an incapacitated state by Moe Slater and Teri Wells, two resident advisors as part of a team providing safe transport for students. They carried Parker to her room and left her in bed. Later that night, at approximately 11:45, Parker was raped and her head shaved. Veronica unknowingly witnessed the assault, entering the room while it was going on, although she believed Parker was indulging in consensual sex. Mercer Hayes, a college DJ with a phone-in request show, Club Flush, was playing on the radio.
The red herrings...
The investigation into the serial rapes was muddied when members of Lilith House, an on-campus feminist organization, misguidedly faked a rape and head shaving in an effort to expel the Greek system from Hearst. At least three of the members had a motive beyond wanting to see the fraternities and sororities shut down. The best friend of one of them was publicly humiliated at the hands of the Zeta Theta Beta sorority and the Pi Sigma Sigma fraternity three years earlier.
All the rapes reportedly occurred on the nights of Pi Sigma Sigma parties, implicating the Pi Sigs and giving ground to the Liliths' conviction of their guilt. A newspaper article attesting to this fact derived from one of the Liliths, , but nonetheless was sufficient to throw suspicion on the Pi Sigs as a group, on the head of the fraternity, Chip Diller, and on one of their members who was trying to bed Parker the night before the rape and told Logan he'd done a terrible thing — Dick Casablancas. In the end, it was not the Pi Sigs, nor did the rapist make an attempt to frame them for the crime. Pi Sig parties simply guaranteed that there would be plenty of drunk girls, and thus opportunities for rape.
Timothy Foyle, teaching assistant to criminology professor, Dr. Landry, was keeping a close eye on the serial rapes, filling a board in his office with maps and details of each rape. The rapist left no DNA or hair evidence, suggesting someone familiar with criminal investigations. Veronica, no fan of the man who sees her as a rival to Landry's attentions, wonders if he is the rapist, a thought excited by Foyle's outburst at a Pi Sig party on seeing his girlfriend Bonnie on Dick's lap. It is a short-lived suspicion as she discovers the true identity of the rapist soon after.
Hearst sociology professor Dr. Kinny conducted an intensive study on the prisoner/guard relationship in which volunteers were assigned those roles in both 2005 and 2006. The students were charged with either discovering or keeping secret a piece of information over the course of a weekend. The victors were excused a twenty-page research project, giving each side a strong incentive to win. Mercer Hayes (guard) and Moe Slater (prisoner) took part in the experiment in 2005 and formed or consolidated a twisted dependent relationship of dominant and submissive. A similar but less vicious relationship was formed between a couple of students in the 2006 experiment. Moe accurately described the experiment as life changing.
Mercer was charming, suave, and arrogant. He was also cruel and dismissive to those he saw as being beneath him, such as a stuttering guest in his on-campus mini-casino. Mercer was attractive but unattached because this attitude extended to the girls at Hearst. He did not see the reason for wasting time on the preliminaries of sex. Moe, as a resident advisor, had access to the master key to the dorm rooms and provided it to Mercer. Moe was also in a position to identify girls already incapacitated by alcohol whom he could induce to take a GHB-laced drink. Mercer then raped them in their rooms, shaving their heads to mark the favor he bestowed upon them. Whether he gave the hair to Moe, or whether Moe cleaned up afterwards and preserved it, we don't know, but we do know Moe kept at least some of it in his closet.
Veronica suspected Moe, but dismissed him when fellow RA Teri Wells confirmed that she was with him at the time of Parker's rape. Veronica also suspected Mercer to the extent that she provided information to Lamb that led to his arrest: Parker reported that his cologne strongly reminded her of the night of her rape, and he had hair clippers of the type used in the assaults. Lamb added the information that GHB was found in Mercer's cashbox. It was the alibi for Nancy's rape —he was in Mexico with Logan Echolls— and her belief that Mercer's radio show, on at the time of Stacy's and Parker's rapes, had to be live that led Veronica to exonerate him prematurely. Her mistaken belief was given further credence by Mercer antagonizing Lamb sufficiently to earn an extra night in jail, during which Moe drugged and attacked Veronica in the guise of the rapist.
Veronica realized her mistake when, at a Pi Sig party, she learned that Mercer's show could be prerecorded. At great risk to herself, she thwarted his attempt to rape Carrie Kaiser, injuring him in the process. Unfortunately, on seeking shelter from an enraged Mercer, she went to Moe and was further endangered. Fortunately Parker, alert to the sound of the rape whistles she had been distributing, came to the rescue when Veronica managed to blow her whistle, causing Mercer and Moe to flee. Keith tracked them down, and they were incarcerated.
Whoa! Hang on a minute. There's a hole here. Nancy Cooper's rape is problematic. How could Mercer have raped her when he was with Logan in Mexico? The assumption was that her rape was faked, too, like Claire's — Nancy was a Lilith House girl, although we don't know from when — and that it was done to further the feminists' agenda (even if in August, when nobody's about and the impact is less). But now Veronica is having second thoughts, bringing up Mercer's alibi with Logan. For pillow talk, it kind of sucked. Logan speculates that Mercer must have drugged him, driven back to Neptune, raped Nancy, and returned to Mexico in time to wake Logan up and set the motel on fire. Are the writers mopping up? Or is there more here than meets the eye?
Mystery Summary as of 3.11 "Poughkeepsie, Tramps and Thieves"All summaries: 3.11 3.09 3.08 3.07 3.06 3.05 3.04 3.03 3.02 3.01
Clues for Who's the Hearst Rapist?
- 2.16 "The Rapes of Graff"
- Dawn, a Hawaiian student, is raped, and her hair is cut off a month before the "Get to Know Hearst" weekend for potential students.
- Stacy Wells, a white student at Hearst, is roofied and raped in her room during the "Get to Know Hearst" weekend for potential students. Her hair is also cut off close to the scalp.
- Stacy left a campus party that night with Troy Vandergraff, a potential new student. Troy reports that they fooled around for a while, but then Stacy was sick. He said he cleaned her up and put her to bed. It is unclear how much time passed between her ingesting any drugs and Troy leaving her.
- Veronica clears Troy of suspicion of being the Hearst College rapist when she establishes that Troy was on the other side of the country when Dawn was raped.
- There was a difference in the cases of Dawn and Stacy. Stacy found hair in a box at her door after the rape. This had not happened to Dawn.
- Veronica revealed that the hair was a mean prank perpetrated by a vindictive Pi Sigma fraternity brother, Gordon Peters, who was angry that Stacy did not sleep with him. As he failed to "score," his fraternity brother shaved his head, and it was his hair left at Stacy's door.
- Pi Sigma was punished with a semester's probation (no mixers, no parties, no sports) after Veronica uncovered and reported their competition of vying for points based on girls and women they slept with.
- Chip, also known as Ice Man, received his high score on the Pi Sigs sexual scoreboard for sleeping with the dean's wife.
- 3.01 "Welcome Wagon"
- Nancy, an African-American student at Hearst, was raped sometime before the first days of college, and her hair was cut off.
- Nancy, together with Fern, organises a Take Back the Night rally and calls for the closure of the fraternities. This is unpopular with fraternity members who sabotage the rally using a near-naked Dick Casablancas, a blow-up doll, and a backing track.
- Nancy implies that she is the fourth victim of the rapist.
- The latest victim of the rapist is Parker Lee, Mac's roommate.
- Parker is friendly and fun-loving, and according to Mac, a "one-woman red light district" who was with a new guy every night since orientation.
- Parker has attracted the attention of Dick. He turned up at her dorm room the night she was with members of a band who performed at a local venue.
- Dick is chased out of Parker's dorm by the Resident Advisor, alert to the presence of one who shouldn't be there.
- Parker has attracted the attention of others, as is noted on the white board on her door. There's the name . There is also the expression "What the frak." The Resident Advisor of Wallace's dorm is a fan of Battlestar Galactica and is trying to wean himself off swearing by using the word "frak."
- The night of the rape, Mac left movie tickets for herself and Veronica in her dorm room but hesitated to enter, assuming Parker was having consensual sex.
- Veronica, on the same assumption, crept in and took the tickets, noticing nothing that alerted her that this assumption was wrong.
- When Veronica entered the room, the sounds of both the radio and of intimacy could be heard.
- When Veronica entered the room, Club Flush announced himself as the DJ on the college radio station, KRFF.
- Dick turned up at Logan's door, distraught and dishevelled, stating that he had "messed up bad."
- When Veronica and Mac returned from their night out, Mac was able to tell at a glance into the darkened room that there was no man in the room.
- Parker, Mac, and Veronica, who has slept on the couch, all realized that Parker had been a victim of the rapist in the morning when Parker screamed at the sight of her reflection.
- 3.02 "My Big Fat Greek Rush Week"
- Parker remembers nothing the night of the rape past being at a party at the Zeta Theta Beta sorority as part of Rush Week.
- Veronica heard a buzzing when she entered the room to get her and Mac's tickets, but she assumed it was a vibrator. Because of Parker's reputation as someone who slept around, it did not occur to her that it was an electric razor.
- Veronica places the time of the rape as 11:45 at night, that being the time she entered the room to get the tickets.
- Nish, an editor for the college newspaper, Hearst Free Press, has an agenda to bring down the sorority and fraternity houses.
- Nish sports a very short haircut.
- Nish states that four sources have claimed the Theta Betas get pledges all liquored up, take them to a secret room, and have them undress while the guys from their brother fraternity watch the show through a two-way mirror. Veronica found no evidence of this in her investigation.
- The Zeta Theta Beta sorority is the sister sorority of the Pi Sigma Sigma fraternity.
- Dick Casablancas is a legacy, meaning a relative was a previous member, of the Pi Sigs.
- The Zeta Theta Beta sisters relieve prospective new members of their purses on arrival, in order to access their room keys to leave invitations to those they want to invite back.
- There are Safe Ride Home carts on campus to provide transport to women at night. It is staffed by volunteers; including Moe, the resident advisor at Vincent Hall; Fern, one of the Take Back the Night rally organizers; and Teri Wells, the resident advisor at Clark Hall who may or may not be related to Stacy Wells.
- On the night of Parker's rape, she was taken to her dorm room by Moe and Teri. They both got her to her room and then left. Teri corroborates Moe's story and states that she was with Moe until midnight.
- The character on Moe's mug is Papa Bear. Papa Bear is one of the characters in the children's story, "Goldilocks and the Three Bears." Goldilocks was so named due to her beautiful hair. It's probably meaningless.
- There are surveillance cameras at the Zeta Theta Beta sorority, ostensibly used by the den mother, Karen, to protect her internal greenhouse of cannabis, used for medicinal purposes.
- Veronica concludes that Chip Diller, president of the Pi Sigs, seems to be around when the rapes occur. It is unclear how she has come to this conclusion.
- Veronica has marked a map of the rapes, showing four. It is not certain if there are other markers under a file window she has created or if those are the only incidents of which she is aware.
- 3.03 "Wichita Linebacker"
- Lilith House, a feminist rights organization, protests the rapes by staging a breast-baring incident in the stands during a college football game. As part of the protest, they display the banner: "We Go to Hearst. Go Ahead. RAPE US." Their protest is shown, subject to blacking out the actual bare breasts, and reported in the Hearst Free Press.
- The Lampoon, another on-campus newspaper, ridicules the protest by staging it with men and the banner: "No Thanks. (Except maybe the blonde in the middle.)"
- The "blonde in the middle" is identified as Claire by Nish during a confrontation in the dean's office to Veronica, the dean, and the editors of The Lampoon.
- During a radio call-in show hosted by Piz, wherein the heads of Lilith House, Fern and Nish, and the editors of The Lampoon are invited to debate, Fern receives a text message from Sara M. The message is: "Claire was raped."
- Dean O'Dell is on at least his second marriage. His current wife is much younger than he is and was his grad student "back when you could do things like that."
- The Hearst College pictorial symbol is unusual. It is of the head of a dark man with a fedora hat. It is reminiscent of a '40s noir movie character and could be described as sinister or threatening.
- The college football team are called the Rough Riders. As well as being the name for Teddy Roosevelt's Regiment, it is the name of a brand of condoms.
- Position Coach Dwight Fry keeps a computer file on "Special Teams." Of course, this may be a special group of defensive football players who run back punts and kick-offs and defend the other team when they run back balls (thanks, topanga). Or not.
- The slow printer in Coach Fry's office suggest that facilities for the football staff are not state of the art, indicating that football team is not the primary user of the college's resources.
- Brian "Pop" Popovich, one of the football players, is confident that copying his teammate's Sociology homework will not incur any penalty.
- Trish Vaughn, who runs the college radio station, claims that one of the football players was treated like "a piece of meat" and tortured.
- Larry, an artist living off-campus (it appears), was able to enter and exit the dorm room of his ex-girlfriend, Trish. Trish is in the same dorm as Parker.
- Larry's roommate, Alan, appears to be a regular at the casino that the oily Mercer Hayes runs in his dorm room.
- 3.04 "Charlie Don't Surf"
- Nish has written an article about alleged connections between the Pi Sigma Sigma fraternity and the rape cases. She proposes that the brothers were hosting an event on the night of every single rape.
- In consequence of Nish's article, the college administration calls a hearing to determine whether the fraternity will be shut down. Desperate, the fraternity decides to hire Veronica to clear their name. She sees it as an opportunity to find out more about their possible involvement and agrees to "help" them.
- The last thing Claire remembered from the night she was raped was drinking something in front of the haunted house the Pi Sigs had set up for one of their parties.
- Hsiang "Charleston" Chu, the frat brother who served drinks that night, was supposed to hand over the earned money to Chip once it reached $500. When he did so, however, Chip was less than enthusiastic, since he was apparently enjoying someone's physical company in his room.
- When confronted, Chip declines to give up the name of his partner. Given the circumstances Charleston described, Veronica suspects his girlfriend cheated on him with Chip, but she vehemently denies it.
- Veronica tries to confront Dick about the night when he showed up in disarray at Logan's doorstep. Dick sidesteps her in a shifty fashion.
- When talking to Parker, Veronica finds out that she gave Dick her phone number, and that Dick showed up at her dorm room the night before the rape. Parker describes how an angry Dick chased Nancy out of the haunted house.
- Nancy confirms Parker's story. She and Claire crashed the haunted house party because they heard the boys had a "grope room" and wanted to teach them a lesson by strategically placing rat traps on their bodies. Veronica concludes that both Dick and Chip must have been trapped in these, since both of them sport bruises on their knuckles.
- Nancy lost sight of Claire during the rat trap incident. She thought she saw her in front of a convenience store down the street from the party, but didn't get a reaction when addressing her.
- The store owner recognizes Claire from a photograph. He claims that she was completely drunk and in the company of a guy who tried to buy condoms with a credit card. After the clerk refused him, the two went outside to an ATM machine to get enough change and later returned to buy protection.
- Through Keith's connections Veronica obtains a picture of Claire from the ATM machine security camera. It shows an obviously incapacitated Claire and a man of Asian ethnicity standing behind her. The time stamp, reading as 2 a.m., confirms that Claire's head hadn't been shaved two hours after the haunted house had been closed, thus severing the direct link the rape had to the Pi Sig party.
- 3.05 "President Evil"
- Veronica shows Claire the picture taken at the ATM the night the latter was raped. Claire states that she does not recognize the Asian youth standing behind her.
- Veronica blows up the picture to identify the logo on the youth's t-shirt. It is of Camp Waterloo, a summer camp for children up to the age of sixteen in West Virginia.
- Veronica secures the names and addresses of those who attended the camp in the last five years and in so doing, identifies Wang Yi as the only Asian from southern California to attend.
- On seeking to confront Wang, Veronica is informed by a youth living at the same address that Claire is Wang's girlfriend.
- Mason, an athlete at Hearst and one of Wallace's team mates, advises Wallace of the services of Max, a student on campus who, for cash, will "tutor" him. Max does not tutor his clients. He provides them with the means to cheat.
- One week after being caught cheating, Wallace appears to still be in college, having suffered no consequences that depressed him or set Veronica into action. This is an assumption based on his sending Veronica an email with the subject heading "snickerdoodleme? :D."
- Mercer Hayes, at a costumed event in his dorm-room casino nicknamed the Benetian, elected to dress up as Alex de Large, the main character of Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange. Alex, played by Malcolm McDowell, was a rapist.
- 3.06 "Hi, Infidelity"
- Claire is expelled for faking her rape with the help of her boyfriend.
- Nish elected not to report the story of Claire's faked rape despite the existence of easily corroborated evidence. In the light of her failure to be objective in her role as editor of the Hearst Free Press, Dean O'Dell forces her to step down.
- Dean O'Dell overrides Nish's objections that he cannot interfere with the running of the student newspaper, stating that he is a devious old man who could enforce his decision. Nish appears to believe him.
- Nish threatens both the dean and Veronica.
- When Professor David Winkler and the dean discuss Wallace's cheating, it is implied that athletes are often caught cheating.
- Professor Landry shows particular interest in Veronica and wants to be her faculty advisor.
- Professor Landry is the "biggest gun" in the Criminology department.
- Harmony tells Keith that her husband has taken their daughter to Orlando for "a couple of weeks." She invites Keith to accompany her to a Noir Film Festival.
- Timothy Foyle is no slouch when it comes to investigation. He is able to obtain Veronica's cell phone number which is undoubtedly more than usually difficult to find.
- Dean O'Dell makes a habit of spending time in his office at night when his wife is otherwise engaged. Not all his time at night on campus is spent actually in the office.
- Samuel Horshack and Rafe are "busted" when Horshack is caught taking Rafe's test for him. Rafe singled out Horshack for torment during Kinny's sociology experiment on the interaction of prisoners and guards. This is at least the second time that Horshack has served Rafe since the experiment.
- Mercer is Club Flush, and on the day that he meets Parker, he is about to do a live broadcast. Club Flush is the DJ who was on the radio when Veronica walked in on Parker's rape.
- Mercer's cologne triggers a strong memory of the night of her rape to the point that Parker believes that Mercer is the one who raped her.
- Veronica searches Mercer's room and finds hair clippers in a drawer.
- Lamb discloses that two vials of GHB, the drug used on two of the victims, was found in Mercer's recovered cashbox. It is not known which two victims were given GHB, although one is likely to be Stacey, as Lamb stated at the time that she had been "roofied."
- The dean's wife is sleeping with Landry in a room at the Neptune Grand, booked by Landry under the pseudonym Rory Finch.
- Landry's dalliance with Mindy O'Dell is fairly recent and the latest in a long line of such affairs according to his teaching assistant, Timothy Foyle.
- Harmony encourages Keith to enter into an adulterous affair. Keith resists until a close call with death makes him change his mind.
- Timothy Foyle keeps a close eye on the rapes, using a large board in his office in a manner that reminds Veronica of every movie serial killer.
- Lamb arrests Mercer.
- Logan tells Veronica that Mercer is innocent and that he was with Mercer the night of the "rape in the summer." It is not specified, but the approximate date of Nancy's rape is unknown and, of those known, could be described as being in the summer. Logan refuses to tell Veronica what they were doing that night. It is unknown how Logan came to know Mercer before attending Hearst College.
- 3.07 "Of Vice and Men"
- Moe offers a comforting hand and a cup of tea to the hapless Meryl.
- Moe tells Veronica that he is not one to judge when he finds her in Piz's room in a compromising position. He throws Piz a congratulatory look.
- According to Moe, all R.A.s have keys to the dorm rooms. Professor Landry sets, as he has done in past years, the end-of-term research paper: "Plan a Perfect Murder."
- Landry wants Veronica to apply for a summer internship with the FBI and will pull strings to facilitate her acceptance as well as excuse her from the end-of-term research paper. Veronica believes that the offer is a payoff for her silence about his affair with Mindy O'Dell and, despite reassurances to the contrary, rejects his advice.
- One of the rapes occurred on 13 August. This was the rape for which Logan can provide Mercer an alibi and which, by a process of elimination, must be Nancy's.
- The cologne worn by Mercer when he met Parker and to which she reacted so violently as a memory of her rape, was a sample given out free with copies of the back-to-school issue of GQ magazine.
- Mercer claims that the GHB Lamb found in his recovered cashbox was planted and not his.
- Mercer states that both Chip Diller and Dean O'Dell owe him money from gambling. In the case of the dean, it is his passion for boxing that leads him to bet, using his student aide as a go-between.
- When Piz reminds Veronica that Mercer is Club Flush, Veronica checks the radio station computer on which every D.J. shift is logged.
- Stacy was raped on 24 March. On that day, the log shows that Mercer was broadcasting from 10pm to midnight.
- Parker was raped on 30 September. On that day, the log shows that Mercer was broadcasting from 9pm to 11pm* and Lionnel Feilspar from then until midnight. According to Veronica, this clears Mercer of Parker's rape. (*prop error or Veronica's forgotten that she heard Club Flush broadcasting at 11:45, or the time of Parker's rape has been moved.)
- It occurs to Veronica that Mercer's show could have been pre-recorded. Piz states that this is unlikely as they are call-in request shows.
- Mercer's alibi for 13 August is unusable as he was responsible for a serious act of negligence in Tijuana when he set fire to the motel. He and Logan fled from the scene and it is unknown if people were hurt or killed in the blaze.
- Lamb agrees to release Mercer when Logan provides Lamb with the radio station alibis, however Mercer's attitude compels Lamb to wait until the next day.
- That night, in the Food Court, Veronica's drink is left unattended at her table while she returns to one of the counters to get a replacement meal, a hair being present in her original dish. In that short time, her drink is spiked.
- At the time her drink is spiked, Piz is with Logan.
- Initially shaking off the effects of the drug, Veronica realizes she has been drugged on her way to her car in a parking garage. She attempts to reach her car, but collapses before she can get inside.
- There is a hooded figure waiting for her in the parking garage. The person is wearing surgical gloves. The person's wrist reveals that he or she is white.
- Veronica, who managed to set off the car alarm before passing out, is not raped, but she is left with a bald patch on the back of her head. It is unclear whether clippers were used, or used expertly, as there is blood on her scalp.
- 3.08 "Lord of the Pi's"
- Chip Diller is found on one of the college greens, drugged and stripped to his underwear. His head has been shaved. A plastic Easter egg had been inserted in his anus. Within the egg were two sets of three glued-together Travel Scrabble tiles, which read as Roman numerals, forming the date 11/19/03.
- There is a Free Heart Press article stating that on that date, Zeta Theta Beta pledge Patrice Pitrelli fell off the roof of the sorority house while sunbathing.
- Patrice was Claire's best friend, and Claire witnessed what happened to her. Patrice was a legacy. She was pudgy and pale. She was subjected to having her body critiqued by her sorority sisters with the assistance of a permanent marker. This took place before a two-way mirror with members of the Pi Sigs observing from the other side.
- Patrice, unable to come to terms with the humiliation, deliberately walked off the roof of the sorority house and is now in a mental institution.
- Whilst Nish, Fern, and Claire do not admit to the assault on Chip, Veronica is satisfied that they are responsible.
- Veronica challenges the three Liliths with the idea that they could have been responsible for all the rapes in their focus to close down the Greek system at Hearst. They neither admit nor deny it, although Nish scoffs at the accusation.
- 3.09 "Spit & Eggs"
- Timothy Foyle tells his unfaithful girlfriend Bonnie that each time she cheated on him, he was with other girls.
- Mercer's phone-in shows can be taped. One is played at the Pi Sig party.
- Carrie Kaiser's drink is spiked with GHB.
- Veronica gets to Carrie first, puts her in the closet, and takes her place in Carrie's bed. By so doing, she witnesses Mercer's entry with intent to rape.
- On seeking to escape Mercer by going to Moe's room, Veronica simultaneously discovers that Moe and Mercer were together in the sociology experiment and that Moe has drugged her, confirming his role as Mercer's accomplice. She also finds the hair shaved from the victims in Moe's closet.
- 3.11 "Poughkeepsie, Tramps and Thieves"
- Veronica questions Logan about the alibi for the night of Nancy's rape. Logan posits that he was either asleep longer than he thought or drugged, giving Mercer time to drive to Neptune, rape Nancy, and return to Mexico.