Parole board reverses decision on Gillmore hearing

It allows rape victims to speak after lawmaker's intervention
by: , Richard Troy Gillmore

Two rape victims will be able to testify against their attacker during his upcoming parole hearing after all.

The Oregon Board of Parole and Post-Prison Supervision announced Friday, June 8, that it will allow Danielle Tudor and Colleen Kelly to speak at Richard Gillmore's hearing on June 13.

Last week, the board told the women they would not be able to testify because they did not meet the definition of victim under a new administrative rule.

Gillmore admitted to raping Tudor, then 17, in 1979 and Kelly, who was 13, in 1980. But he was only convicted of raping 13-year-old Tiffany Edens, who was doing chores in her Troutdale home when Gillmore broke in and attacked her in December 1986.

Police arrested the man and discovered he was the Jogger Rapist, a notorious serial rapist who terrorized and raped a total of nine girls and young women in East Multnomah County starting in the 1970s.

Tudor and Kelly testified at his parole hearing in 2010, but the parole board said they couldn't testify at his upcoming hearing because a new administrative rule only allows the victim for which he is convicted of raping the testify.

'I am glad to hear they've come to the right decision,' Tudor said shortly after finding out the board changed its mind. 'We are very happy. It took a lot of pressure.'

The Outlook was the first to report on Saturday, June 2, that the parole board was barring the women from testifying in person at the upcoming parole hearing. A media storm followed.

And on Thursday, June 7, Rep. Matt Wand, R-Troutdale, issued a press release stating he'd asked the parole board to adopt an emergency rule allowing Tudor and Kelly to testify.

Wand, an attorney who serves on the House Judiciary Committee, also said he'd introduce legislation in the 2013 legislative session if the board didn't clean up the new rule.

The next day, the parole board announced the women could testify.

'After careful consideration with key stakeholders, the board recognizes that the current rules give the board discretion to allow others to speak who may provide relevant information and have a special interest in the case,' reads its press release. 'Ms. Tudor and Ms. Kelly are two examples that meet these criteria.

'The board looks forward to working with its partners and the Legislature to continue to improve its rules, policies, and procedures to provide a lawful, transparent, and participatory hearings process.'

Jay Scroggin, executive director of the parole board, wouldn't point to any one person or involvement as swaying the board.

'Ultimately we want to make this right for everyone, and we want to make this legal,' he said. 'Everyone's interest in this case is reviewed by the board. … It just takes time to make sure the decision we make are legal and ethical.'

Tudor said she suspects a letter sent Friday, June 7, from an attorney representing her and Kelly may have been a factor in the board's change of heart.

'We were preparing a lawsuit,' Tudor said. 'And they didn't want that.'

Now, Tudor is drafting a 15-minute statement on why her rapist needs to remain behind bars. She also hopes the hearing sparks changes within the parole board system in regard to victim testimony.

'It's a good thing and it's a great start. I think overall we'll see some changes that need to happen here with the parole system.'

Gillmore, 52, became eligible for parole in 2011 after serving just 15 years of a minimum 30-year sentence.

Although the judge who presided over the Edens' rape case sentenced Gillmore in 1987 to a maximum of 60 years in prison with a 30-year minimum, a parole board just one year later cut his sentence in half.

His request for parole were denied in 2001, 2003 and 2005, but approved in 2007. But the board didn't notify Edens of his request for parole and by court order had to hold another hearing in 2008. In that hearing the board denied his parole. The board also denied his 2010 request for release.