Admired in Life, Reviled in Death

On a typically balmy summer day in late July 1999, the family and friends of Alex McIntire gathered at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Coconut Grove to bid him farewell. McIntire's body had been found days earlier inside his 1993 Mercury Villager minivan, submerged in seventeen feet of water in a remote Southwest Miami-Dade canal. No one had seen or heard from him in nearly three months. When police divers retrieved the body, they discovered his torso chained and padlocked to the seat; his right foot was chained and padlocked to the accelerator. The medical examiner ruled his death a suicide.

The church was filled. It was, by all accounts, a moving service. McIntire, who would have turned 54 years old a month later, was a well-known and well-liked administrator at the University of Miami. He volunteered at St. Stephen's, where he served as a member of the vestry. For nearly two decades, he was active in the Miami chapter of Mensa, the so-called genius society. And he was a popular figure among a large group of writers, academicians, and other cognoscenti who frequent a respected conference Website known as the Well.

Indeed friends came from as far away as California for the funeral. One of those friends -- San Francisco Chronicle columnist Jon Carroll, speaking to a national audience a few days later as a guest commentator on National Public Radio's Morning Edition -- paid tribute to McIntire as a “scholar, a loving father, a man who constantly sought to take comfort in faith.” Months later acclaimed novelist Russell Banks dedicated his new book of short stories to the memory of Alex McIntire.


But few people at that wrenching service -- if any at all -- knew the burning secret that appears to have prompted McIntire to take his own life. He left no suicide note. He said goodbye to no one, leaving his wife and daughter in shock and his colleagues and friends across the nation at a complete loss for understanding. That secret, which dates back more than 25 years, is a haunting, disturbing tale that first began to unravel when a woman named Lisa Hamilton revealed to her mother that she had been sexually abused as a child. The abuse, she said, went on for years and years and had been committed by her stepfather, Alex McIntire.

Hamilton is now 32 years old and lives in Lexington, Kentucky. She claims that on an almost nightly basis, McIntire crept into her room and assaulted her while others in the house slept. The abuse occurred from the time she was six until she was fourteen, when McIntire divorced her mother. Because Hamilton kept silent for more than a decade, no physical evidence exists linking McIntire to the assaults. And there are no corroborating witnesses. Thus her charges remain unproven allegations.

While no one can be certain what impelled McIntire to bind himself inside his van before plunging it into a canal, this much is known: On the day he disappeared and presumably ended his life, he was expected to meet with detectives from the Miami-Dade Police Department's Sexual Crimes Bureau to answer the allegations brought forth by Lisa Hamilton.

If Alex McIntire could lay claim to a unique distinction, it was the result of a genetic stroke of luck that blessed him with the IQ of a genius. In 1985 the Miami Herald's now-defunct Sunday magazine, Tropic, published a flattering profile of McIntire, dubbing him “the smartest man in Miami.” It was a fitting appellation. Since the early Seventies, he had been a member of Mensa, the organization with but one entrance requirement: a score on a standardized IQ (intelligence quotient) test higher than 98 percent of the general population.

Within Mensa's Miami chapter, McIntire was widely regarded as the brightest of the bunch. With good reason. Beyond Mensa is an organization called Intertel, which requires for admission an IQ test score above the 99th percentile. McIntire was a member. And beyond Intertel lies the Triple Nine Society. In order to join, one must score higher than 99.9 percent of the population. McIntire was a member of that, too. But there is a higher level still. Those who qualify as “triple-niners” can take a verbal-acuity test for membership in ISPE, the International Society of Philosophical Enquiry. The test separates the living robots from those able to engage in intelligent, meaningful conversation. In the entire world today, there are just 631 members of the ISPE. McIntire was among them.

For years he served as president of Mensa's Miami chapter. He often attended the group's monthly dinner meetings and other social functions at which members gathered to socialize, exchange ideas, and discuss everything from college football to astrophysics. Seth Lefkow, now 72 years old, has been a member for years. A few months after McIntire's death, Lefkow recounted for New Times a story he says at once illustrated McIntire's breadth of knowledge, social grace, and sensitivity. About five years ago, a group of 40 or so Mensa members met for an informal dinner at Tien Kue Inn, a Chinese restaurant on Coral Way in Miami. In walked a couple, new to the group. After ten or fifteen seconds of awkward silence (Mensa members are known for their intelligence, not their savoir-faire), McIntire stood up and, recognizing the man's Indian features, welcomed him in Urdu, a language in which McIntire happened to be fluent. “It was such a gracious touch,” recalled Lefkow, adding that he never had admired anybody more than McIntire: “The most intelligent human being I've ever met.”

Piecing together the life of Miami's smartest resident is no simple task. Few friends or family members agreed to be interviewed for this article. Those who did described McIntire as a deeply religious and fiercely private man who rarely talked about his past. Some of that past, however, is well-known.

He grew up in Greensboro, North Carolina, and remained in the state to attend college at UNC Chapel Hill, from which he graduated in 1967. Twenty years later a syndicated newspaper article described a reunion of campus intellectuals and civil-rights activists. McIntire was among those quoted. “We were people who chose not to fit in with Bass Weejuns and madras shirts and fraternities and football games,” he said. “In high school we were very bright but didn't fit in because we were interested in things like music and foreign films. We got to Chapel Hill and, by golly, there were 300 or 400 people who really thought those things were okay.”

One of those people was novelist Russell Banks. The award-winning author of Continental Drift, The Sweet Hereafter, Cloudsplitter, and other books, met McIntire in college. They stayed close friends until McIntire's death. Banks recalls being attracted to McIntire's social and intellectual maturity. “He always seemed a few years beyond the rest of us,” the author says from his home in upstate New York. “He was a tremendous presence.” Banks dedicated his book The Angel on the Roof to McIntire, because it was in those early days of late-night discourse and intellectual banter that he began writing. But Banks says there also was an enigmatic side to McIntire. “He was very private person in some ways,” he remembers. “Despite his openness I always knew there was a deep well of darkness inside.”

Following college McIntire pursued graduate work in international studies at a string of universities. As many Mensa members will attest, a high IQ is no ticket to professional success. The eclectic intellectual pursuits, the endless thirst for knowledge, the tangential forays into arcane disciplines for curiosity's sake can inhibit the hyperintelligent from charting a career path and following it to the top. McIntire may be a good example. Though he eventually earned a Ph.D. from the University of Miami, until he was nearly 40 years old he earned his living as a schoolteacher. His résumé includes posts in Montana, North Carolina, Pakistan, Ecuador, and Miami, teaching social studies at both the elementary and high school levels and occasionally coaching after-school athletic teams. It was during one of those teaching stints that he met Linda Hamilton.

In 1971 Hamilton, then 25 years old, worked at the chamber of commerce in Billings, Montana. She was a recently divorced mother of two: Lisa, age three, and Jack, one. McIntire had been teaching part-time and taking classes at Montana State University in Billings when he called the chamber one day to inquire about volunteering as a hotline operator at a crisis center. Hamilton answered the phone, and from that call a romance blossomed.

“He flattered me,” Hamilton recounts, speaking from her home in Huntington, West Virginia, where she works as a mathematics instructor at Marshall University. “He said I was the smartest person he'd talked to in a long time.” They spoke a number of times by phone over the next few weeks. What attracted her? “His intelligence,” she says. “He was obviously very bright.” When they finally met face to face, she understood his courtship-by-phone tactics: McIntire was morbidly obese.

At his heaviest, Hamilton says, McIntire weighed just over 500 pounds. That kind of girth, wrapped around his hulking six-foot two-inch frame, made for an imposing figure. His weight fluctuated greatly. She once recalls him dropping to under 300 pounds after fasting for 45 days. He gained much of it back, though Hamilton didn't mind; she knew what lay beneath the physical appearance. Within a year they married. (Hamilton believes he had been married once before.) “He was such a remarkable person,” she continues. “He could go to a different cocktail party every night for four years and be able to talk to anyone in any field and speak about the latest developments. He was bright enough to convince anyone of anything.”

Shortly after marrying, the couple, along with Hamilton's two children, moved to Durham, North Carolina, where McIntire began taking graduate courses at Duke University; he also taught at an elementary school. Hamilton took a job teaching at a preschool. But within two years, the family was on the move again. According to Hamilton McIntire believed he could not complete a master's thesis in international studies from the confines of Duke's library. He had to live abroad. Soon he found the opportunity: The Lahore American School in Pakistan offered him and his wife teaching jobs.

In 1974 Hamilton flew to Pakistan with daughter Lisa to rent a house and enroll her children in school. McIntire arrived a few weeks later with Linda's son Jack. Lisa was six years old and Jack had recently turned four. Because they were so young when their mother met McIntire, both children grew up thinking he was their biological father. And there is no evidence to suggest he was anything but a kind and loving parent in those early years. But all that changed shortly after the family arrived in Pakistan -- at least in the eyes of his stepdaughter.

Lisa Hamilton agreed to talk with New Times after being contacted at her home in Lexington, Kentucky, where she works at a print shop. In the 26 years since these events occurred, she has discussed them with only a limited number of people: two police officers, an attorney, a therapist, a boyfriend, her husband, and her brother and mother. She speaks in hushed staccato phrases, never mentioning McIntire by name, instead using a pointed “he” or “him” or a selected epithet.

Here is her account: Early one morning in Pakistan, while her mother slept, Lisa was awakened in her bed by McIntire. Without staying a word, he positioned her on her back, lifted up her nightgown, and began to caress her genitals. Then he performed cunnilingus. Throughout the episode he repeatedly told her he loved her and asked if it felt good. She said nothing. After perhaps 30 minutes he left, riding into the city on his bicycle. “I knew what was going on,” Lisa says today. “I knew what he was trying to do. I knew it was wrong.”

And so began what Lisa Hamilton claims was a nightmarish cycle of abuse that lasted more than seven years. Typically, she charges, McIntire would come into her room in the late evening after her mother had fallen asleep. The “visits,” as Lisa calls them, lasted up to an hour. During some extended periods, they occurred almost nightly. On occasion they took place during the day while the two were alone in the house. She says McIntire frequently instructed her not to tell anyone. Once, while still in Pakistan, Lisa's mother left for a few days on business. “This was like his holiday,” Lisa remembers, her voice wavering. She was about eight years old. McIntire brought her into his bedroom and removed her clothes. He fondled her. He removed his penis from his pants and placed her hand on it.

Lisa learned to detach herself during the assaults. It was her only defense. “I froze,” she says. “It was like a blackness. I went away from my body. In fact every time I talk about it, I feel the same way as I did then -- everything seems like it exists in just two dimensions. Flat. I could feel it but it wasn't mine. I just didn't feel anything. I could turn it off, like a switch.”

As the abuse continued, Lisa developed a theory for why it was happening: “As a child you think it's your own fault. If I wasn't a bad person, he wouldn't be doing this to me. So it was my responsibility to put up with it, not to complain.” She worried that telling her mother would split apart the family. As much as she wanted the assaults to stop, she also wanted her family to stay together. A 1992 e-mail message to her mother explained:

All I wanted was for nobody to find out, for him to stop doing it around Jack, and for you not to lose your marriage. I don't know why it was such a great thing to try to save, but I was afraid if you found out, you'd blow up at each other and you'd hate me for wrecking it.

After four years in Pakistan, Alex McIntire and Linda Hamilton (both mother and daughter use the last name of Linda's maternal grandfather) accepted job offers from an English-language school in Quito, Ecuador. In 1978 they moved there with Lisa and Jack. McIntire, Lisa says, continued his visits. Her only respite came during a two- or three-month period when McIntire moved out of the house. (Linda says he was having an affair and briefly lived with the woman and her children.) Lisa claims the visits continued when the family moved to Miami in 1979. Three years later McIntire and Linda separated; subsequently he filed for divorce. Linda says she had been willing to patch up the relationship, but McIntire wasn't interested. “He said I wasn't enough woman for him,” recalls Linda.

During the separation McIntire demanded visitations with Lisa. Once or twice a week Linda dropped her daughter at McIntire's parents' home in South Miami-Dade, where he was living. Lisa says he abused her there, too, each time she arrived. Only after the divorce was finalized, in August 1983, did the assaults come to an end. Lisa was fourteen. She never saw McIntire again.

When Lisa Hamilton heard the news that Alex McIntire had killed himself, she broke down in tears, screaming in anger. This development did not follow the script she had played in her mind so many times. No resolution came with his death. “I wanted to confront him, but now I can't,” she says slowly, carefully choosing each word. “I don't get to destroy him, to see his life crumble away. I don't have control over it now. I don't get the release, the sentence, the execution, the ruining of his life. I don't fulfill the dream of castrating him. And now I don't get the rest that I need in my life.”

Telling her story, she now believes, may precipitate a resolution. It is part of her healing. She also believes a public airing will help illuminate the devastating effects of sexual abuse on a young child. No one besides other victims, she says, can comprehend the numbing pain she has endured for so many years. Although she is married now, she has had difficulty with relationships. “What is trust? What is love?” she asks.

Maintaining self-esteem is an enduring struggle. At times in her life she has felt compelled to appear unattractive and socially inept. “A childhood victim of sexual abuse, growing up, is faced with living through the present with the frames of childhood obscuring everything that should be new, in intimacy, in relationships, in any socialization,” she explains. “My childhood was stolen. I'm only now beginning to live my life. He may be dead, but for me the story isn't even close to being over.”

In the summer of 1992, breaking years of silence, Lisa told her mother of the abuse. A few visits to a therapist, she says, helped her recognize the healing benefit of coming forward. She was 24 years old at the time and a recent graduate of the University of Kentucky. She and her mother were at a children's museum, accompanying Linda's young son from a later marriage. “I suppose I just didn't want to believe it at first,” Linda recalls. “But then my reaction, like any parent's reaction, was: “Where had I been? Why hadn't I noticed?'” Over the next few months, Lisa and her mother exchanged a series of e-mail messages. In one of them, dated September 28, 1992, Lisa explains her reluctance to speak up earlier:

“I always thought -- afterward -- it wasn't a big thing, that he didn't ever hurt me, that he didn't ever actually try genital penetration, that he didn't put me to shame in public. And then somebody told me I was abused as much as any other abuse case, and I've been confused ever since.”

Later in the same message she tries to ease her mother's feelings of guilt:

“No, I don't blame you for any of it; I can't. What would you do? He's a twisted motherfucker. He likes to play with children. I don't know if he knows how permanent the damage he does, had done, did, still does, is. Children are like clay. I want to stay away from them myself. I won't be held responsible for anything that forms an adult like this one.”

A few months later, at her mother's urging, Lisa telephoned the Coral Gables Police Department to report her charges of abuse. (The last place the family lived together was in married-student housing at the University of Miami in Coral Gables.) After an initial interview, a Coral Gables police detective concluded that the statute of limitations had expired on any crime occurring in that city's jurisdiction. At issue was Lisa's age. By the time she moved to Coral Gables, she had turned twelve. Under Florida law children twelve years or older who are sexually assaulted must report the crime within three years of their sixteenth birthday. The statute of limitations would have expired when Lisa turned nineteen. But there is no statute of limitations if the child suffered abuse under the age of twelve. Such assaults -- provided they include some form of vaginal penetration, such as the oral and digital penetration reported by Lisa -- are considered “life felonies,” calling for a minimum mandatory sentence of 25 years in prison.

Because Lisa briefly lived in unincorporated Miami-Dade County prior to her twelfth birthday, a Coral Gables police detective referred the case to the Miami-Dade Police Department, where it was assigned to Det. Daniel Wendel of the Sexual Crimes Bureau. The investigation was short-lived. According to police reports, Wendel interviewed Lisa and her mother by telephone in May 1993. He also tried but failed to contact two other people who knew of the allegations: Lisa's brother Jack and a former high school boyfriend in whom Lisa once confided. That was the extent of Detective Wendel's investigation. He never presented his findings to the State Attorney's Office, and no charges were filed, although the case remained officially open.

Wendel retired in 1996. Miami-Dade Police Department officials say they do not know his whereabouts today, nor are they able to explain his reason for apparently abandoning the case. Both Lisa and Linda Hamilton say they assumed the investigation was moving forward, albeit slowly. In fact Lisa was planning to file a civil lawsuit against McIntire once he was arrested on criminal charges. In any event she was in no hurry. She was undergoing therapy at the time and did not relish the thought of reliving the abuse at a criminal trial.

E-mail correspondence between mother and daughter indicates they believed a Miami attorney named Elizabeth Richard was in contact with Detective Wendel, monitoring his investigation in preparation for filing the civil suit. But they were wrong. Richard, in a recent interview, describes herself as a family friend of the Hamiltons, not Lisa's attorney. And while she did call Wendel once, in 1993, she never followed up. Nevertheless she was equally frustrated by Wendel's inaction.

In October 1998, five and a half years after Lisa first contacted police, the case resurfaced following a review of inactive files. The so-called cold case was reassigned to Miami-Dade Police Det. Steven Signori. This time investigators vigorously pursued their leads. Signori contacted Lisa and documented that she was under twelve years old at the time she lived in unincorporated Miami-Dade. The statute of limitations therefore did not apply. He also obtained dozens of e-mails among Linda, Lisa, and Jack, dating back to 1992, in which the assaults were discussed openly. In his interview with Linda Hamilton, Signori learned that while still in Pakistan, Lisa had contracted Reiter's syndrome, a disorder whose symptoms include urinary tract inflammation that is often (but not exclusively) transmitted sexually. He also learned that Linda had to forbid McIntire from shaving Lisa's legs after he had made numerous requests to do so.

After his divorce from Linda Hamilton, McIntire remarried and had a child with his new wife. The family lived in a modest home on a quiet, tree-shaded street in unincorporated Miami-Dade, barely a mile from his office at the University of Miami.

He received his doctorate from the university in 1984 and began teaching as an adjunct professor of international studies. Soon he began a steady rise through the school's administrative ranks. While teaching he also served as associate director of UM's North-South Center, a research institute devoted to hemispheric affairs. Ambler Moss, former U.S. Ambassador to Panama and the center's long-time director, last year spoke to New Times about McIntire. Not surprisingly he recalled a man of extraordinary intelligence and insight. He also described McIntire as intensely compassionate. “Of the people who cared most about other people, he would have to come out near the top of the list,” Moss offered. “He was a great, great person. One of the best in the university.”

In his most recent post, McIntire served as assistant provost for academic development, a position he helped to create. Much of his time was spent advising students. He also was charged with developing undergraduate support services, such as counseling and academic mentoring.

By the early spring of last year, McIntire had neither seen nor heard from Lisa Hamilton in almost fifteen years. There is no indication in police records or elsewhere that he had any idea his former stepdaughter had contacted investigators with her allegations of sexual abuse. But those years of silence had come to an end. On April 17, 1999, with much of his investigation complete, Detective Signori knocked on the door of McIntire's Miami home. Records show he planned to reveal Lisa's allegations. (Signori declined to be interviewed for this story and referred all questions to police department spokesmen.)

It was a Saturday at about 11:30 a.m. McIntire's wife answered the door; her husband was not home. Signori left his business card along with instructions for McIntire to contact him the following Tuesday morning, when the detective returned to work. In his report Signori noted that he did not disclose the allegations to McIntire's wife.

At 8:15 a.m. the following Tuesday, McIntire, as he did most days, said goodbye to his wife and left on his short commute to work. He dressed in his customary fashion: slacks, button-down Oxford shirt, and necktie. At 8:30, presumably from his UM office, he telephoned Signori as instructed, dialing the number printed on the detective's card. This is what he heard: “You have reached the Miami-Dade Police Department's Sexual Crimes Bureau.... If you know your party's extension, dial it now.” He entered Signori's extension but the detective was not in. In a voice-mail message, McIntire promised to call again later that day, perhaps after visiting his mother, who had been hospitalized following a recent fall.

He never called back, and he was never heard from again.

According to police records, McIntire left his office an hour after phoning Signori, telling his secretary he was en route to a meeting. He never arrived. He missed a number of other meetings that day. He also failed to visit his mother at the hospital as he had promised her.

By evening McIntire's wife was worried. Police reports indicate that at 9:30 p.m., believing he might have been arrested, she contacted the Miami-Dade Police Department and asked for Det. Steven Signori. He was not in, but when a supervisor in the Sexual Crimes Bureau learned of McIntire's disappearance, he dispatched an officer to file a missing-persons report, waiving the normal 24-hour waiting period. McIntire's wife told the officer that her husband had seemed depressed and had been sleeping a lot. She commented on his obesity.

Four days later Signori contacted Lisa Hamilton at her home in Kentucky, informing her that McIntire had vanished. The detective expressed concern that he might try to locate her. “It was a scary time,” Lisa recalls. “Every time the phone rang, I jumped.”

Investigators had few clues to pursue. McIntire's bank accounts were untouched, his credit cards unused. No one had heard from him. With the police stumped, his wife hired a private detective. A group of Mensa friends drove between UM and the hospital where McIntire had planned to visit his mother, searching the roadway for possible leads. The FBI, which usually does not handle such cases, briefly investigated following a plea from what police described as an “influential acquaintance” of McIntire's family. Two journalist friends -- Jon Carroll of the San Francisco Chronicle and British author Andrew Brown, a contributor to the monthly New Statesman -- published personal essays reflecting on his baffling disappearance.

About three weeks after he'd last been seen, McIntire's boss, vice provost John Masterson, offered police a gloomy assessment. “Dr. Masterson further informed this writer,” a detective commented in a report, “that Mr. McIntire was ... the most intelligent man he had even been associated with. He stated that if Mr. McIntire wanted to disappear, that he would never be found.”

Despite that increasing possibility, Signori continued his investigation into Lisa Hamilton's allegations. By early July the detective believed he had gathered sufficient evidence to charge McIntire with sexual battery, should he ever be found. Lisa had recounted the alleged abuse in painstaking detail. Her mother, while unable to corroborate the assaults, found her daughter's account to be credible. And most important, Signori obtained school records showing that Lisa had lived in Miami-Dade County before turning twelve. On July 16 he met with Assistant State Attorney Laura Uriarte to outline the facts of the case. But after reviewing the evidence, Uriarte expressed doubts that she could obtain a conviction. For that reason, she said, the State Attorney's Office would not file charges.

In a recent interview, Uriarte said she only vaguely remembered the case and referred questions to Tammy Forrest, chief of the sexual battery/child abuse unit in the State Attorney's Office. Forrest had been unaware of the case, but at New Times's request she reviewed the police reports pertaining to Lisa Hamilton's allegations. After doing so Forrest supported Uriarte's decision. In a situation like this, she explained, a jury's finding boils down to whom they choose to believe. “Because the assaults occurred so long ago, there is no physical evidence,” she noted. “It's his word against her word.” Further, she said, defense attorneys surely would have pointed out that police reports reveal Lisa's plan to file a civil lawsuit asking for monetary damages. “Juries get suspicious of that sort of thing,” Forrest observed.

On July 17, 1999, one day after meeting with Uriarte, Signori closed his investigation. His final report concluded with this: “Probable cause exists to arrest [McIntire] for sexual battery. Due to the fact that the State Attorney's Office will not file charges ... it is requested that this case be exceptionally cleared.” (A case is “exceptionally cleared” when probable cause exists to arrest a suspect but circumstances prevent prosecution.) Later that day a form letter went out to Lisa from the Miami-Dade Police Department advising her of that decision.

The smartest man in Miami, it seemed, was clear of the law and free to reappear.

Just two days later, McIntire's body was found in his van, submerged in a canal next to a zucchini field in Southwest Miami-Dade. He had been missing one day short of three months.

The rural location was an ideal place to drop off the face of the Earth. The area is sparsely populated. The canal is deep enough to fully conceal a vehicle resting on the bottom. And from the spot where McIntire slipped his car down an embankment and into the slow-moving water, eight-foot-tall grass obscures the view from any vehicles randomly passing in the distance. He was found by a diver employed by a towing company searching the canal for automobiles to salvage. (Canals and flooded rock quarries in remote parts of the county often are used to dispose of stolen or unwanted vehicles.)

The van was upside down. McIntire was in the driver's seat, his seat belt attached. Later divers also found a large steel chain securing his body to the seat. A similar chain was wrapped around his foot and the accelerator. Both were fastened with key-operated padlocks, as if to prevent escape should he lose the nerve to die as water gushed through the open windows. His clothes, while badly deteriorated, appeared to match those he was wearing the day he disappeared. Dental records were used to establish positive identification. The medical examiner determined he died of drowning.

Even with considerable media coverage of McIntire's disappearance and ultimately his death, Lisa's sexual-battery allegations were never reported publicly, though police hinted at them to a Miami Herald reporter. In explaining the suicide ruling, Miami-Dade Police Department spokesman Rudy Espinosa alluded to key information police were withholding. “There are certain things we don't want the family to read about in the paper,” the Herald quoted him as saying. As a result McIntire's friends freely speculated on his death: a car jacking staged as a suicide; despondence over his weight and health. UM's Ambler Moss theorized that he may have been depressed by the recent death of a close friend, Cuban scholar Enrique Baloyra.

Among those who eventually learned of the allegations, virtually all hoped never to see them in print. Jon Carroll, the San Francisco Chronicle columnist, responded via e-mail to a request for comment, passionately arguing that the story was not newsworthy. “You are, of course, free to write what you want,” he said. “I can assure you that, down the line, you will feel small and sleazy for having done so.” Henry Hamman, a Miami man who described himself as McIntire's closest friend, responded with equal vituperation: “Unless you can come up with some damn good reason to write this story, you'd better stay away from it or you'll regret it the rest of your life.” McIntire's widow declined to comment but did voice her objection to the story's publication, questioning the public benefit.

Needless to say Lisa Hamilton believes otherwise. She bristles at the suggestion her allegations should be concealed and that McIntire's reputation should remain unsullied. She calls this article “the first solid beginning of the annihilation that this twisted fucker's character has needed for many decades.” Her pain, she says, is only now beginning to subside: “He transformed my life forever. There's no easy way for me to get over what he did. I think people finally ought to know what this man was really like, what he was capable of doing, and did, to a child as young and helpless as I was.”

Staff writer Victor Cruz contributed to this report.

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