TV anchor Maureen O’Boyle is fighting to keep her rapist from 30 years ago behind bars. O’Boyle, a former host of A Current Affair and Extra, now anchors the evening news for WBTV in Charlotte, N.C. The journalist was shocked to learn recently that her rapist, James E. Starling, could soon be eligible for parole.
According to People, O’Boyle has started a petition in an all-out effort to assure Starling doesn’t get out.
In 1986, O’Boyle and another woman were raped by Starling. O’Boyle recalled waking up to a naked man holding a cold knife against her throat and sexually assaulting her. It was the most horrifying day of her life, and she fears Starling, now 53, could be on the streets once again, hurting other women.
— People Magazine (@people) March 24, 2016
Starling was sentenced to 50 years in prison, and he’s served 30 years so far. He has 20 years left, but parole might be an option.
Maureen O’Boyle, 52, says the man has a “hatred toward women” and “a desire to control with fear and violence.”
The petition that O’Boyle started will be given to the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles, hoping to prevent Starling’s early release. As a single mom to a teenage daughter, the TV anchor is especially adamant that her rapist doesn’t go free.
About 62,000 people have signed the petition on her Facebook page. She has received about 500 private messages from other women who’ve also been raped.
“Many of them had assailants who were released from prison and raped again,” O’Boyle said. “This has become something not just for me, but for other victims who never had a voice. Rape is a pervasive, horrible crime, but we live in a culture where it’s not considered the vile, life-altering crime that it is. It is always with you. Always. It never goes away.”
Maureen O’Boyle found Lady Gaga’s song, “Till it Happens to You,” something she relates to. When she watched it on the Oscars in February, she “choked up” as rape survivors stood around Gaga as she performed the song. It was soon after this when O’Boyle discovered Starling was up for parole.
— buy grand product (@product_buy) February 17, 2016
O’Boyle’s 16-year-old daughter, Keagan, asked her how old her rapist would be now. When Maureen Googled his name, she saw he was up for parole in April, 2016.
“I was flabbergasted — my world stopped,” O’Boyle said. “I’d never been told anything about it. If we hadn’t watched Lady Gaga perform the song, and if Keagan hadn’t asked me that question, I probably still wouldn’t know about it now.”
Unbeknownst to her, Starling had been considered for parole 10 times since 1993, but was denied. It was a hard reality for O’Boyle to take in.
Maureen O’Boyle was raped after she was unknowingly stalked several months by Starling when she worked an early-morning anchor job at WMAZ, a CBS affiliate in Macon. Starling worked as an auto mechanic who regularly watched her morning program at his gas station.
There were disturbing signs that something was going on when O’Boyle would go home and noticed several belongings were moved around, and some of her underwear stolen. It was the night when O’Boyle’s roommate moved out that Starling chose to rape her.
O’Boyle didn’t have to face Starling in a trial because he admitted to raping her and another woman. As it turned out, he’d raped numerous other women.
Maureen O’Boyle doesn’t want anyone else to be harmed by this man.
“He took a part of me that day. And he should never have the opportunity to take that from somebody else’s daughter or granddaughter,” O’Boyle said.
To sign the petition, click here.
[Image via Maureen O’Boyle/Facebook]