A quick content warning for this podcast, “An Absurd Result” is heavily about sexual assault involving a minor.
On a cold night in March of 1987, a man broke into a Billings, Montana home and sexually assaulted 8-year-old Linda Glantz before escaping undetected. Though there were seven people in the home at the time of the assault, only a broken window in the bathroom home lets her parents know that this was not just a nightmare, but their terrifying reality. It takes decades for Linda and her family to heal, but in 2014, the case is reopened and they realize the wrong man was locked away. “An Absurd Result” is a story of two people whose lives were shattered, a maddening search for justice, and the gigantic loophole in the U.S. legal system.
After the assault on Glantz, the investigation moved swiftly, convicting 18-year-old Jimmy Bromgard of the assault. He had a minor criminal history, looked like the description of the man given to the police, and was, ultimately, in the wrong place at the wrong time. Because after serving 15 years in prison, he was exonerated by the Innocence Project in 2002. And to prove it even further, 12 years after that, in 2014, a new sample in the criminal DNA database found a match for the DNA found in Glantz’s bedroom. Only, it was too late to convict the man who actually did it. The statute of limitations had passed.
“An Absurd Result” is a 7-part serial podcast, with half-hour long episodes featuring interviews with Glantz, her family, Bromgard, the detectives and police on the case, forensic scientists, lawyers, and many more involved in this. It’s not an easy listen, but host and University of Montana journalism professor Jule Banville is the person for the job. And in her web exclusive interview with Podsauce, she goes even deeper into what this case ended up meaning.
Banville first met Glantz in 2015, and has been thinking about how to best tell her story ever since. The fact that Glantz is even able to speak about what happened to her, even through all of the twists and new evidence that have shown up in her case, is remarkably courageous.
To entertain, to educate, to make us laugh, cry, feel; the ever-expanding podcasting medium obviously serves great purposes. But, this one goes beyond what podcasts, in particular, true crime podcasts, are. It’s not just a way to memorialize the victims of crimes, or a reminder to stay vigilant. Instead, it’s Glantz, Bromgard, and Banville urging the legal system to close a massive loophole in their laws. “An Absurd Result” exposes glaring problems within the criminal justice system, pointedly at the enormous backlog of rape kits and the statute of limitations pertaining to them.
“An Absurd Result” shows what happens when the justice system fails, when an old case gets new evidence, and how a crime that could be so easily solved waltzes right through that loophole. It’s unfortunately a podcast where no one wins, where Glantz and Bromgard both had to find their own peace with the outcome.