Interview: Sgt. Glenn Flothe, Alaska State Trooper, Part One, Side A
Subject: Robert C. Hansen Investigation, Arrest & Sentencing
Tape Date: May 1984
Background: By the time Robert C. Hansen was arrested in late 1983, authorities had a list of eight missing women. All of them dancers or sex workers in Anchorage, Alaska. The turning point, for those unfamiliar with this story, was the escape of a 17-year-old sex worker. Hansen confessed in February 1984 and was sentenced to 461 years plus life in jail. Even then, it was not over. As part of his sentence, Hansen agreed to take Troopers to the gravesites of his victims.
My interview with the then Trooper Sergeant took place after Hansen’s confession and sentencing in early 1984. Glenn is an easy talker, so there are only a few spots where I needed to prompt him.
Something To Extinguish
We started by talking about Hansen’s 1981 arson conviction in Pocahontas, Iowa. “There was something in his life that he wanted to extinguish,” Flothe told me. “I think he felt he wanted to take what he couldn’t have when he was younger,” he added.
He wanted to take what he felt he had a right to –- and that was women.Trooper Sgt. Glenn Flothe
“So in a way, I think it was getting back at women. I think it’s a general hate for women — but back then, initially, it was hate coupled with sexual desire. I think as he went on, I think his sexual desire lessened and in fact disappeared.”
Sex or Power?
As the interview progressed, the trooper sergeant amplified his initial thoughts. A truism about sexual assault soon emerged. It’s not about sex.
“I think it was just — he was wanting to take what was his – what he felt was his,” Flothe insisted. “[I] don’t think his initial exploits were simply to take them out and kill them. He wanted to dominate them, he wanted to use them, he wanted to feel power around them.”
There was also something more insidious. A man’s imaginary friends. Only, of course, they weren’t his friends.
“He had fantasies of relationships that really didn’t exist,” Flothe told me. “Like when he kidnapped that gal, he thought [it was a] she liked him type thing and ‘if you’ll only come with me I’ll make love to you.’ It’s like the sheik that rides out on a stallion in the desert, snatches up some screaming woman out of a camp, drags her back to his hut, has sex with her and now they’re in love forever.”
“That’s the type of thinking that went through his head. ‘If I could just prove my greatness, she’ll like me,’ he continued. “But the trouble is he’s gotta snatch them and hold them and secure them and chain them in order to attract – to gain their attention.”
Sgt. Flothe readily admitted to the inherent complexities involved in explaining a Robert Hansen. For one, what Hansen started was not what he became. There was an evolution in his thinking and in his approach. And yet… There was something fundamental to his madness.
Like an animal that’s tasted blood, he couldn’t stop.
“It was simply the hate and the thrill of the chase,” Flothe insisted, “the hunt and the capture and the kill. Simple as that. And he was like an animal that’s tasted blood. He couldn’t stop.”
Copyright Leland E. Hale (2023). All rights reserved.
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