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Penny Beerntsen, the Rape Victim in Making a Murderer, Speaks Out

Beernsten has released her personal reactions to the documentary and to Avery’s exoneration.

Amid the peak of buzz over Netflix’s obsessively watched true crime documentary Making a Murderer, Penny Beerntsen has released her personal reactions to the documentary and to Steven Avery’s exoneration.

In 1985, Beerntsen was attacked and raped by a stranger. She picked Avery out of a police lineup, and he was convicted and sentenced to 32 years in prison. In 2003, DNA evidence revealed that Avery was not the attacker. The real perpetrator, Gregory Allen, who had been free for 10 years, was arrested on unrelated rape charges.


On the Marshall Project website, Beerntsen describes their reconciliation. In a meeting with him and his mother, she says she apologized and he gave her a bear hug. She goes on to describe the emotional difficulties she has had in the wake of his exoneration. “I still see Steven Avery as my assailant even though I understand he wasn’t,” Beerntsen writes. “Then I get a call that a young woman has gone missing and that the last place she was seen was on Steven Avery’s property. So my emotions regarding Steven Avery are complicated.”

She also said she didn’t speak to the filmmakers because she felt they were too close with Avery’s family and attorneys, but has seen the series and feels that it gave an accurate depiction of her case.

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(h/t The Marshall Project)

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