Sensationalized After Death | Roseann Quinn
Episode 15

Sensationalized After Death | Roseann Quinn

In 1973, Roseann Quinn was murdered in her own apartment by a man she met at a bar. The story sparked a media frenzy, and was eventually adapted into a book and movie. Rasha & Yvette discuss Roseann’s case and the issues in how her story was represented.

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In The Episode

Trevor Young 00:03

You're listening to Facing Evil, a production of iHeartRadio and Tenderfoot TV. The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are solely those of the individuals participating in the show, and do not represent those of iHeartRadio or Tenderfoot TV. This podcast contains subject matter which may not be suitable for everyone. Listener discretion is advised.

Yvette Gentile 00:27

Hi, everyone, welcome back to Facing Evil from Tenderfoot TV and iHeartRadio. We are your hosts. I'm Yvette Gentile.

Rasha Pecoraro 00:35

And I'm her baby sister Rasha Pecoraro. And as always, our favorite Texan Trevor Young is here as well. 

Trevor Young 00:42

Hello, hello. Welcome back.

Rasha Pecoraro 00:43

I wish we were all together still. But I do love that we're virtually together. I have a question for you all. So I am not the biggest book reader. Like I used to be. And I think with social media and with screens and everything, I feel like I kind of let that get away from me. But lately, I've been reading a ton of autobiographies. And right now I am obsessed with Simu Liu's book. And Simu Liu, for those of you who don't know, he is Marvel's superhero Shang Chi. And he has a book out called We Were Dreamers: An Immigrant Superhero Origin Story. And it's so, like, just beautiful to see what his parents went through, you know, they immigrated from China to Canada. And then of course, he's here now in America, but I want to know, what are the two of you reading, what inspires you when you're not here with me on Facing Evil?

Yvette Gentile 01:45

Well, you know, I, I really love books. I love to hold them. I like the smell of them. And especially during the pandemic, like I've read so many different autobiographies. But the book that I am on right now is Viola Davis, which is called Finding Me. And, you know, I've always been a huge fan of hers, but to read her story and where she came from, and where she is now is truly inspiring. What about you, Trevor?

Trevor Young 02:16

So I've got about three books I'm in the middle of. I'm one of those people whose like, reading a bunch of different stuff at once and like puts one down for a couple days and moves on to another.

Rasha Pecoraro 02:25

Of course you are. I love it. 

Trevor Young 02:27

Yeah. So on my mantle, I've got a collection of stories by J.R.R. Tolkien. It's The Unfinished Tales, which is, as the name implies, a bunch of unfinished stories that he had written that kind of fit into the world of Middle Earth, which is Lord of the Rings, for those who don't know. I'm also reading a biography of Anthony Bourdain, which is really good and then...

Yvette Gentile 02:52

I love Anthony. Oh my god. 

Trevor Young 02:54

Yeah, I miss him. And then I'm also reading the fourth installment of Frank Herbert's Dune series. Dune is one of my favorite sci-fi series. And I'm almost done with the fourth book, which is called God Emperor of Dune.

Rasha Pecoraro 03:08

How many books are there in Dune?

Trevor Young 03:10

So there are six main books that Frank Herbert wrote, the primary author. His son, Brian Herbert, has kind of carried on his legacy writing a bunch of spin-off series and prequel series. A lot of the fans of the Dune series don't super love those books. So I kind of take a grain of salt with the spin-offs. But if we're talking like core canon, it's just those six books.

Rasha Pecoraro 03:34

The six. So there could potentially be six movies? Got it.

Trevor Young 03:37

Or more, because they're very long. 

Rasha Pecoraro 03:39

Right, right.

Yvette Gentile 03:41

Right, right. With that being said, Trevor, will you take us through today's case?

Trevor Young 03:48

Roseann Quinn was a 28-year-old woman who was killed on New Year's Day of 1973. She was a school teacher and a single woman who lived by herself in New York City. On the evening of January 1, she went to a bar in her neighborhood. There she met a man named John Wayne Wilson and the two went back to her apartment together. When she didn't show up for work a few days later, a coworker went to go check in on her. They found Roseann Quinn dead, stabbed to death in her own apartment. A manhunt began for Wilson, who was eventually found and arrested. But while in jail, he hanged himself, and so no charges were ever officially filed in the murder of Roseann Quinn. After Roseann was killed, many criticized her sexual proclivities, suggesting a so-called promiscuous lifestyle was the reason for her murder. But since then, feminist scholars have pointed out that this rhetoric was both false and harmful. The events also inspired a popular novel and subsequent movie, Looking for Mr. Goodbar. And so, who was Roseann Quinn? What were the actual events surrounding her death? And how did those events create the perfect conditions for a national media frenzy?

Rasha Pecoraro 05:07

So when I think about this case, I think about us needing to flip the script, right. Like I feel like Roseann was portrayed a certain way. And, you know, what happened to her is one of those things that, like, it's all of our worst nightmare, right Yvette, like, you know, going home with someone, or in this case, you're bringing them into your own home, and then you end up getting murdered. I mean, it's horrible to even think about. I know, this happened, you know, with Angela Samota, that we just spoke about not that long ago. But it's yeah, the worst, worst thing you can imagine happening.

Yvette Gentile 05:43

Right, just, you know, coming home from a night of dancing or partying and, you know, going to your safe space at home. It, you know, it's just, yeah, it's really devastating. And this is one of those cases in which the true story of what happened to Roseann Quinn in 1973, it, it has almost been overshadowed by this book that I was speaking of earlier, and the movie. Rasha, did you ever see the movie Looking for Mr. Goodbar? 

Rasha Pecoraro 06:13

You know, I never did. And, you know, I always try to watch documentaries, or movies, or any, anything about all of the cases that we're covering, so that it can kind of get into my brain even more, I mean, on top of all the research that our amazing researcher Claudia helps us with. But I couldn't even find it. I mean, I know that Diane Keaton starred in it, but I couldn't even get a snippet of it on YouTube.

Yvette Gentile 06:35

Well, I mean, you know, you can get like snippets of it, but it's so hard to find the entire movie, you know, in its entirety, like unless you go out and probably rent it somewhere, but I don't even know are their Blockbusters, are there any of those video places around anymore?

Rasha Pecoraro 06:51

I think there is one Blockbuster left. Trevor, have you seen the movie? 

Trevor Young 06:54

I have not seen the movie, though I've read quite a bit about it. And my understanding is that it didn't have the most tasteful representation of what Roseann went through, or how best to portray her. I mean, I think that flip the script thing that you mentioned earlier, Rasha, is a big part of the story. And we're going to talk about it a lot today. But you know, the fact that she essentially, according to the media, like wasn't allowed to do this thing that is very natural, and, at least in today's world, considered to be an expectation for anybody who has a social life, right? That that was somehow, you know, her fault for pursuing any sort of relationship outside of, you know, a domestic family situation. So, again, I haven't seen the movie, but my understanding is that it like, didn't portray that very well. So I guess I'm a little bit turned off by it. But maybe I'll change my mind on that.

Rasha Pecoraro 07:49

Yeah. Trevor, what you're saying, I can totally see that. Because this happened at a time in history that there was this huge cultural flashpoint, right? It was an era of a revolution. This was the second wave of the feminist movement. And the purpose of that feminist movement was to champion reproductive and workplace rights and to redefine the expectations of women's personal and political lives.

Trevor Young 08:17

Yeah, it's interesting timing wise that this was, this case happened right in the middle of this second wave feminist movement. But generally, what you are seeing is that, you know, it's more common to have more single career women, and it's more common for, you know, women to not settle down super fast and have children and want to get married and all those things. This is all happening in the 60s and 70s as, you know, all sorts of other things are happening with the Cultural Revolution. So you also get expanded access to birth control. The Pill was first approved by the FDA in 1960. But it took the Supreme Court case, in 1972, for it to become legal for unmarried women.

Yvette Gentile 09:00


Rasha Pecoraro 09:01

Wow. I didn't know that.

Yvette Gentile 09:02

I mean, that is just crazy. But the next year, of course, you have Roe vs. Wade, and that's legalizing abortion. And this was a huge time, and we can get into a whole discussion about this. 

Rasha Pecoraro 09:06

Yeah. It's a whole other can of worms.

Yvette Gentile 09:10

But we won't.

Trevor Young 09:18

Yeah, but meanwhile, you know, there are a lot more women working outside of the home, you know, so they were moving into a space where they could control their own bodies, do their own thing, both professionally and sexually. And the idea of casual sex was, you know, I think gaining more acceptance, especially during, you know, the 60s and the 70s and during this time, but, you know, not everywhere. But in places like New York, absolutely. Like I think it was definitely more acceptable. You think so?

Rasha Pecoraro 09:36

Yeah, and I think, that brings us back to Roseann Quinn, and that's where she was living, in New York.

Yvette Gentile 10:01

Absolutely. She was she was born and raised in the Bronx. And this was in 1944. And she was a big part of a Catholic family of five. And, you know, she grew up in this very nice middle class upbringing. And then the family eventually moved to New Jersey. And she graduated high school in 1962. And she got a degree in elementary education. So of course, she becomes a teacher, which is obviously a very traditional job, you know, for a female at the time, right? 

Rasha Pecoraro 10:38

At the time, yeah.

Yvette Gentile 10:39

But she began teaching at St. Joseph School for the Deaf in the Bronx. And she taught eight-year-old kids. And, from what we understand, she was apparently just beloved by her students and her fellow teachers. So it seems like she had really found her calling. She really enjoyed, you know, teaching the deaf kids.

Rasha Pecoraro 11:02

Yeah. And earlier that year, in May, she moved into her very own two-bedroom apartment on the Upper West Side in a building that's actually still there.

Yvette Gentile 11:12

Yeah, I was gonna say, you know, now on the Upper West Side, you know, to have a teacher salary, you could not touch that, it would be untouchable. 

Rasha Pecoraro 11:23

Sadly no.

Yvette Gentile 11:24

Right. But back then, you know, she's living on her own. On the Upper West Side. Like, what a life?

Trevor Young 11:31

Yeah, I'm sure it's a very nice apartment. But yeah, I doubt she could afford that today. 

Yvette Gentile 11:35


Rasha Pecoraro 11:36


Trevor Young 11:36

Well, according to The New York Times story about this crime, she chose that apartment for, quote, the comparative security of the building and the street. So I guess there's a bit of sad irony there that that ended up not really helping her. But in general, yeah, it does seem that Roseann Quinn had a pretty nice life going for herself. She was 28-years-old at the time, she had a job that she really liked, where she was respected, and she was living in Manhattan. She also had a very active social life, lots of friends. She was often spotted reading books at bars on the West Side. So yeah, it sounds like a pretty pleasant life up until disaster strikes.

Yvette Gentile 12:18

Something that you said really makes me think about the movie that was made, you know, based on this crime. And that's the movie Looking for Mr. Goodbar, with Diane Keaton's character. You know, they portray her as a fairly happy-go-lucky person. Obviously, you two haven't seen the movie yet. But, you know, they give her the same job. And she is a teacher for deaf children. But in the contrast, you know, the real Roseann Quinn, like always, right? You never see her on the phone, like talking to her friends or meeting up with the teachers or, you know, for drinks, like what you just said, like what you just described. You don't see that in the movie. There are always these shots of her where she's, like, sitting alone in this big, dark, empty apartment. And she's always alone at bars. But I did find myself saying out loud to the screen, like, where, where are all your friends, like, you know, why are you always by yourself?

Rasha Pecoraro 13:20

Yeah, so it sounds like the movie was trying to set up a picture of a woman, or a girl, who was a loner, and as if to say, maybe that's why she goes home with all of these men. Is that what I'm hearing you say, Yvette?

Yvette Gentile 13:34

Yes. But there's even this dramatic scene where she, you know, she leaves her family behind, she moves to New York. And there's this feminist movement that's happening. And it leads you to believe that, okay, well, women are, you know, being taken away from their, their safety nets, their families and they're, they're going off to live in this dangerous solitude, you know, in New York City, I mean. 

Rasha Pecoraro 14:01

A big scary New York City. 

Yvette Gentile 14:02

I guess that's what they're trying to portray there.

Trevor Young 14:05

Yeah, it seems to me to be a rather surface level attempt at trying to understand feminism, you know, and also trying to imply that Roseann herself was like an avowed feminist, when in reality, I don't think we have any way to know that. I don't really think she considered herself a feminist. I think she was just a normal person trying to, like, live her life, right, but didn't really fit in with the normal expected lifestyle that was being impressed upon her. And I really, I really think it's that simple. But the movie, I guess, has to try and tell a story or create a narrative that, you know, makes a point.

Rasha Pecoraro 14:43

Yes, you are so right, Trevor, you know, but she definitely lived with that kind of freedom that came from the feminist movement. Like I don't think she could have done that 10 years before, like living on her own, having her own job, and being unmarried and doing what she did. But, anyway, she did have friends and she was seemingly happy. But, you know, shocker. She takes men home to sleep with, despite all of that, and it's almost as if she's a normal, well-adjusted young woman who likes to have sex, like sex is A-OK in my book.

Yvette Gentile 15:22

Right, she's just, she's just living her life. 

Rasha Pecoraro 15:24

Yeah, Trevor said that. Just living her life.

Trevor Young 15:27

Yep. And so, this is what she's trying to do on New Year's Day of 1973. On that day, Roseann Quinn goes to a bar just across the street from her apartment, and that's a place called W.M. Tweeds. And we know that there were two men there that night who were friends with each other, and their names were John Wayne Wilson and Geary Guest. So at about 11 that night, Guest leaves the bar. And a bit later, Roseann Quinn takes John Wayne Wilson home to her apartment.

Rasha Pecoraro 15:57

And that's the last time that anyone will see Roseann Quinn alive.

Trevor Young 16:03

And we'll hear more about that after we take a quick break.

Rasha Pecoraro 16:10

On New Year's Day 1973, Roseann Quinn leaves the neighborhood bar with a stranger. That man is named John Wayne Wilson and Roseann Quinn invites him back to her home, an apartment on the seventh floor across the street. Once they're there, the two reportedly smoked some pakalolo, or marijuana, and attempted to have sex. Wilson later told authorities that when he failed to perform, Roseanne mocked him for it and told him to leave. This is when an argument ensued. And he took a knife and he ended up stabbing her 14 times. Afterwards, he covered up her body with a bathrobe, cleaned himself up in her shower, and wiped down her entire apartment before leaving. This is all what he says happened. 

Yvette Gentile 17:02

Yeah, that's just disgusting, you know? But of course, you know, we have to pause here for a moment because we really don't know exactly how it went down. You know, he, he makes this classic excuse, right? That she mocked him for, you know, not being able to perform his manly sexual duties, you know, and that somehow justifies this anger and, and then murder, right? And also, I have to go back to the movie. And again, we don't know. We don't know what happened. But in the movie, you know, they portray him to be possibly gay, in the movie. Closeted, right? Closeted gay. So, but, again, I don't know if that is true or not. But the thing about this is the police, actually, buy this excuse, you know. 

Rasha Pecoraro 18:00

Of not being able to get it up?

Yvette Gentile 18:02

Exactly. Of not being able to perform. Are you joking?

Trevor Young 18:06

Or that the rage is justified as a result, right. I mean, different times, but that's, that's wild. I mean, this kind of goes back to the Dominique Dunne case... That we looked at a few episodes ago. Obviously, that was 12 years later, but we had a judge sympathizing with a guy who strangled his girlfriend, saying he was caught up in the heat of passion, because she'd angered him in some way. Right. And he was only found guilty of voluntary manslaughter as a result. So I really don't think you're wrong. I think, again, in both cases, law enforcement or the legal system is siding with the men in these situations and saying that their justifications are totally valid. You know, maybe Roseann Quinn did actually mock John Wayne Wilson, but do we really think that gave him a right to harm her physically and then kill her? 

Rasha Pecoraro 18:15


Yvette Gentile 18:54

Absolutely not. 

Trevor Young 18:55

No, of course, obviously not. It's wild that anybody would ever take that perspective. 

Yvette Gentile 19:00


Rasha Pecoraro 19:01

Absolutely, no way. 

Yvette Gentile 19:03


Rasha Pecoraro 19:03

So after he leaves Roseann Quinn's apartment, Wilson then goes to his friend Geary Guest and that's the same friend who had been with at the bar the night before. And he ends up confessing to Geary Guest what he had done to Roseann. But Guest did not believe him and thought he was just trying to get money home for a flight to Miami. So anyway, he bought him the plane ticket home and Wilson flew to Miami, where he picked up his wife. I have no clue what he actually told his wife, but the two of them then flew together to Indiana where Wilson's mother was living.

Yvette Gentile 19:43

I just have to stop you there. And you think about like if you have a friend who comes back and tells you that, like, what...

Rasha Pecoraro 19:51

"I killed someone".

Yvette Gentile 19:52

Wouldn't you be like, What did you say? Like, wouldn't you want to know?

Rasha Pecoraro 19:57

You wouldn't pay for them to get out of town. 

Yvette Gentile 19:59

Not at all. So anyhow, meanwhile, back in New York, Roseann Quinn, you know, her friends and her colleagues, they're getting extremely worried she hadn't showed up to school where she taught. And so, on January 3, a fellow teacher went to her apartment. And, of course, when she didn't answer the door, he had the building superintendent open it. And that's when they found her sadly.

Trevor Young 20:27

Yeah, so it's a bit of a gruesome crime scene. So she's laid out on her fold-out bed. Not only had she been stabbed 14 times, but she had also been raped. And the murderer had placed on top of her face a sculpted bust of another woman. 

Rasha Pecoraro 20:45

Oh, that's a lot to intake. As all of, you know, the murder scenes are, of course, but this is really when the press frenzy begins.

Trevor Young 20:56

Yeah, I mean, you can imagine, like, that kind of story is gonna blow up, you know, very fast, right? For a lot of reasons. But the immediate news coverage following Roseann's murder doesn't really focus on this woman getting killed, but more about how scandalous the whole thing appears to be. So the Daily News headline takes up three quarters of the page and reads in all caps, quote, Teacher found nude and slain. And I'd say that's pretty typical of a lot of like news coverage of the time, right? Like I think outlets really made a point to, like, talk about her physical appearance, like how pretty she was, talking about how young she was. And then of course, all like the weird, extreme violence and the bust and all that stuff. But it was weird, it was like her status as this attractive young woman who was killed after a sexual encounter, you know, it was portrayed as almost like titillating, right, like it was... 

Rasha Pecoraro 21:53


Trevor Young 21:53

Just for the the tabloids. 

Rasha Pecoraro 21:55

The salaciousness of it.

Yvette Gentile 21:56

Exactly. That's what I was gonna say. And I was gonna say, it's just, it's so sad, you know, because, again, as we said, she's just this independent woman who's living her life, having a great time. She's a teacher, she has people who love her, and then to be, you know, blasted, right, all over the newspapers in this sensationalism and titillation, you know, especially by using that word, nude, you know, and the pictures that they showed, like, just how awful is that, you know, for her family, and all of the people that knew her, you know, just think about...

Rasha Pecoraro 21:56

Her students. 

Yvette Gentile 21:56

That's exactly what I was gonna say, her students. 

Rasha Pecoraro 21:57

So it's interesting. There's an essay by Susan Brownmiller and Susan Brownmiller wrote the famous book Against Our Will, and that book helped change the way we talk about rape. But in this essay, she talks about the headline that you mentioned, Trevor, "Teacher Found Nude and Slain". She writes, quote, the introduction of the operative word "nude" was significant. No longer simply a victim of male violence, Roseann Quinn had been transmogrified in death into an object of sexual fantasy. A teacher was not even naked, but nude; nude, the way strippers are nude, the way prostitutes are nude, the way statues are nude, the way lovers are nude. Any man could now fully fantasize about Roseann Quinn's nude body on her disheveled bed, end quote, you know, so that really says something, right, about how rape and violence against women were thought of as kind of titillation for a long time. And it's just sickening.

Yvette Gentile 22:35

It is, and it's something that we will still continue to push back against. And, you know, I have to say, you know, one of my all time favorite movies was, it's called The Accused, which is done in 1998 with Jodie Foster, and it's, you know, similar, but different. But, you know, Jodie Foster's character was, you know, she was at a bar, she was having a good time. And, you know, they they tried to turn it around, you know, she ended up getting gang raped in the movie, but they tried to flip the switch and say, well, it was because she was dressed like this, you know.

Rasha Pecoraro 23:43

Right. Like she was asking for it. 

Yvette Gentile 24:21

And again, like I said, we will, we will always continue to push back against this.

Trevor Young 24:26

Yeah. Moving on with the story here. One other thing that the New York papers publish is a sketch of who they believe the perpetrator is given to them by police based on accounts from people at the bar that night. But the sketch was not of John Wayne Wilson, the man we know who killed her, but instead of Geary Guest, the friend. Yeah. And this was the guy who was there at the bar that night with Wilson who later bought him that ticket out of town, right?

Rasha Pecoraro 24:49

Yeah, the guy that he confessed to. 

Yvette Gentile 25:00

Right. Who didn't believe his story. 

Trevor Young 25:02

Exactly. So, Geary Guest, as you can imagine, sees this in the newspaper and is terrified. Right? 

Rasha Pecoraro 25:10


Trevor Young 25:11

So he's obviously worried that he's going to get implicated in Roseann's murder. So the first thing he does is go straight to the police. He tells them that Wilson actually is the one who confessed to the crime and went home with her that night. 

Rasha Pecoraro 25:23

Oh, now he tells them. 

Trevor Young 25:25

Right, exactly. I mean, it could have been that that was the first time he had seen that Roseann was murdered. And he puts two and two together, but I'm not sure.

Rasha Pecoraro 25:33

Finally believes them, maybe.

Yvette Gentile 25:35


Trevor Young 25:36

Yeah. Either way, he gives them Wilson's location in exchange for immunity. So the NYPD then flies to Indiana with a goal of arresting John Wayne Wilson for the murder of Roseann Quinn. And we'll talk about what happened next after we take another quick break.

Rasha Pecoraro 25:56

So having been alerted by his friend, Geary Guest, authorities then flew to Indiana where they promptly arrested Wilson at his mother's home. He is then incarcerated at the Manhattan Detention Complex, which is also famously known as The Tombs. From there he is sent to Bellevue Hospital Center for testing. And the reason he was sent there is because his lawyer wanted to see if he has suffered brain damage as a child in order to support an insanity defense. I'm sorry, it just baffles me to even say those words.

Yvette Gentile 26:31

You hear about the insanity defense every now and then. And you definitely hear about it in movies, right? But how common is it really?

Trevor Young 26:41

I mean, it feels like we hear about it a lot, right? It feels like anytime there's one of these murders motivated by anger, that the defense lawyers default to this insanity defense plea. But according to the numbers anyway, it's actually not that common. In fact, only about 1% of all felony cases in the US involve the use of the insanity defense. And it's very rarely successful. So the thing to remember here is that the so-called insanity defense is just a legal concept. It's not like a medical concept, right? So you won't find doctors or psychiatrists like using it in their office. So it's really just based on the idea that, at the time of the crime, the defendant was experiencing, quote, severe mental illness, like temporarily, and is therefore incapable of understanding the difference between right and wrong. And because of this, they're, of course, not accountable for the crime. But just having a mental disorder is not enough to make someone not accountable for a crime. At least, so you would think and most logical people would think that. At any rate, it's really like hard to determine what legal insanity is. And it's even harder to defend it in court. So even though you do sometimes kind of hear about it, it's really only in high profile cases, kind of as a Hail Mary, right. Like, it's almost impossible to back up.

Rasha Pecoraro 28:00

Right, like a last ditch effort.

Yvette Gentile 28:02

Right. Well, so in this case, did it work?

Trevor Young 28:06

No, it definitely did not work. You know, there was really no chance for it really to even be investigated, or attempted. So shortly after his visit to Bellevue, Wilson got into an argument with a guard at The Tombs, and that guard mockingly encouraged Wilson to kill himself. And he even tossed him some bedsheets into his chamber. 

Rasha Pecoraro 28:28


Trevor Young 28:29

And in fact, Wilson did kill himself, he hanged himself in his cell using those very sheets.

Yvette Gentile 28:35

Whoa. I mean, so that really is the end of the case, you know, with him committing suicide? I mean, that's, that's heavy.

Trevor Young 28:45

Yeah, that's kind of it, right?

Rasha Pecoraro 28:46

Gosh, makes me think about her family. Like, do they feel like they got any justice? Or, like, you wonder if they feel like they were robbed of something? Because they have no reason and don't know why he did what he did, right?

Yvette Gentile 28:57

Yeah. Yeah.

Trevor Young 28:59

Maybe. I mean, yeah, I mean, I sometimes wonder that in cases where the perpetrator gets killed before they're able to stand trial. It's not unheard of. And it's definitely complex, but you know, at least they are pretty sure, pretty confident that he did it. 

Rasha Pecoraro 29:12


Trevor Young 29:13

Like, they have Roseann's body. They know who did it. I mean, that's a lot of things that a lot of people don't get, a lot of families don't even get that much. 

Rasha Pecoraro 29:21


Yvette Gentile 29:22

Very true, Trevor. 

Rasha Pecoraro 29:24

Yeah. It's definitely a piece of closure for sure. So, you know, Roseann Quinn is eventually buried in St. Mary's Cemetery, just a mile away from her family's home in New Jersey. So three years later, the novel that we've been talking about, and the movie we've been talking about, Looking for Mr. Goodbar, ends up getting published as a novel, casting its main character as a self destructive young woman who seeks men that would harm her. And then five years later is when the movie is made with Diane Keaton. And when Roger Ebert reviewed the movie, he called it a, quote, cautionary lesson, that promiscuous young women who frequent pickup bars and go home with strangers are likely to get into trouble, end quote.

Trevor Young 30:17

Yeah, and I read that sometimes wondering if he was being kind of sarcastic or being literal. 

Rasha Pecoraro 30:23


Trevor Young 30:24

In either case, the media took that message very literally. And they really drive that home, especially after the movie comes out. So they focus on the fact that she would come home with men late at night, who would stay over. There was even one neighbor who told a reporter that there was a night that Roseann and a man she brought home got into a fight, and that they had to go intervene in the fight. And when they did, they found Roseann sobbing with two black eyes as though she had been beaten. So seems like everybody's painting Roseann as somebody who's getting into trouble unnecessarily.

Yvette Gentile 31:00

Right, painting her as like a charlatan, right?

Rasha Pecoraro 31:04

It is good, though, that that neighbor was there during that particular incident to help Roseann out, but we could definitely do without all the slut shaming that was going on, right? I mean. 

Yvette Gentile 31:14


Rasha Pecoraro 31:15

Yeah. There, of course, there is a risk to bringing someone that you don't know very well to your home. Absolutely. No doubt about it. But it does not mean that you in any way, shape or form deserve violence or harm. Full stop.

Yvette Gentile 31:34

Yeah, I agree. I mean, you can, you can dress, you can have as much sex as you want, you can, you know, have whoever you want come into your home. I mean, that is your right. That is your choice, you know, but it does not give anybody the right to be killed or raped because of their lifestyle that they're living. Again, she was, you know, an independent woman who had an amazing job. We can go on and on. Right, like people loved her.

Trevor Young 32:04

Yeah, I mean, all that said, I think it's not surprising to me that, you know, tabloid papers in the 1970s and movie and book adaptations in the 1970s would take this kind of approach to this story. You know, it's just a different time. I mean, obviously, you're all correct. This was not okay. And that, you know, there are realities to this that should have been better represented. But, you know, I think since then, there has been a lot of work done. And, you know, and sometimes we need bad representations. You know, we need misrepresentations to know that that was wrong, and we're going to do it better next time. 

Rasha Pecoraro 32:42

Yeah, for sure. 

Trevor Young 32:43

We can like work on this as a society, and like, you know, do better. And, you know, I hate to say that, like, this was an example to be made of some sort, but it was just like, something that I think a lot of feminist scholars would look back on and be like, you know, this was a crucial point in history, because we learned what not to do. Yeah?

Rasha Pecoraro 33:02

Right. Right. You know, to piggyback on that, Trevor, I actually found a Slate article that talks, you know, about that time and, and like you said, like, I think we've come a long way in our society today, but that was a different time back then. And this particular Slate article, it points out that, quote, much of the public discussion centered on Quinn's private life. Wilson wasn't the first man she'd brought home. Neighbors had heard fighting in her apartment before. Was this rough sex gone wrong? Was she suicidal? Had she wanted all the sex in the world with no consequences? Was she what Gloria Steinem was going to the barricades for? End quote. And it goes on to say in that same article, quote, the reason Roseann Quinn's death terrified people wasn't that she was a freak or a hippie. It was that she was steadily employed, modestly dressed, well liked. She was normal, but she was a new normal, one that decades later, we're still trying to deny or scare away, end quote. 

Yvette Gentile 33:02

Yeah, you know, we could say that she was ahead of her time, right? That people, they just weren't ready for her. And again, I mean, it's absolutely not over.

Rasha Pecoraro 34:18

You know, any case that we choose to do on Facing Evil, Yvette and I and now Trevor, we're always looking for that Imua, right, like that, what that theme is throughout the entire episode, like why are we telling this story? And I really believe that we're telling Roseann Quinn's story because we need to flip the script, right? She was vilified as a victim just because of the way she dressed, who she slept with. Being by herself, you know, being an independent young woman. And we are here to tell you that it doesn't matter how you dress, what gender you identify as, where you are in your life, if you like having sex, if you don't, if you're asexual, doesn't matter. You do not deserve to be harmed. You don't deserve violence. You do not deserve to be murdered. And I want to highlight some great things about who Roseann Quinn was as a human being before she was a victim. So just a few facts, a little few nuggets to know about Roseann. She suffered from polio as a child, and she walked with a slight limp, but she never let that bother her. She enjoyed going on ski trips. She was very dedicated to her work and to the children that she got to teach American Sign Language to. She often brought breakfast in for her students because they didn't have time to eat at home because they were catching the school bus. And, of course, Roseann probably wasn't a saint, but I'm sorry, no one is. And I'm sure she was a very complex person, but she, above all, deserved to live. And she is way more than her victimhood or the way that she died.

Yvette Gentile 36:16

Amen to that, Rasha. Amen. Absolutely. Absolutely. You know, and again, I can just add in there, she was truly ahead of her time. You know, she was, like we've said, in so many cases, she was living out loud, and she was doing all the things that she loved to do. And the way that her life was taken is just tragic. You know, and we have to remember that gender based violence is a real thing. And it's the system that perpetuates this harm that we need to challenge every single day, and not the people who find themselves victims of these crimes, you know, but the people who are actually doing the crimes. And that brings us to this week's Imua.

Rasha Pecoraro 37:13

We'd like to dedicate this week's final message of hope and healing to Roseann Quinn, and to all of the other women who have been targets of violence.

Yvette Gentile 37:23

And so with that, we will keep working to point out the ways that our unconscious bias feeds a harmful system. And for you out there who are soldiering through your days in a world that would box you in, that would label you and harm you - we see you, we support you, and we are right there with you. Onward and upward. Imua.

Rasha Pecoraro 37:50


Yvette Gentile 37:55

Well, that is our show for today and we'd love to hear what you thought about today's discussion and if there is a case that you would like us to cover.

Rasha Pecoraro 38:04

Find us on social media or email us at And one request, if you haven't already, please find us on iTunes and give us a review and good rating if you like what we do. Your support is always cherished.

Yvette Gentile 38:20

Until next time, aloha.

Trevor Young 38:38

Facing Evil is a production of iHeartRadio and Tenderfoot TV. The show is hosted by Rasha Pecoraro and Yvette Gentile. Matt Frederick and Alex Williams are executive producers on behalf of iHeartRadio with producers Trevor Young and Jesse Funk. Donald Albright and Payne Lindsey are executive producers on behalf of Tenderfoot. TV, alongside producer Tracy Kaplan. Our researcher is Claudia Dafrico. Original Music by Makeup and Vanity Set. Find us on social media, or email us at For more podcasts from iHeart Radio or Tenderfoot TV, visit the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to your favorite shows.


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