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Wand outraged at silencing of rape victims

Outraged that the state's parole board is not allowing two rape victims to testify against their attacker at his upcoming parole hearing, a local politician is calling for action.

Rep. Matt Wand, R-Troutdale, has asked the parole board to adopt an emergency rule allowing testimony from victims who've been harmed by an inmate, even if that inmate was not convicted of the crime for which he or she has been imprisoned.

The request stems from next week's parole hearing for Richard Troy Gillmore, 52, East Multnomah County's notorious serial rapist who raped nine girls and young women during the late 1970s and '80s.

Gillmore, also known as the 'Jogger Rapist,' is scheduled to testify Wednesday, June 13, before the State Board of Parole and Post-Prison Supervision in his most recent bid for release.

But the parole board will not allow two of his victims to testify at the hearing because they don't meet the board's new definition of victim. Although the board admits that the women are victims of a heinous crime, the board won't allow them to testify because Gillmore was not convicted of raping them.

Jay Scroggin, parole board executive director, said the women have not been excluded from Gillmore's hearing. They've been invited to attend and submit letters to the board, which they've done. Those letters are now part of the hearing file and will be considered by the board, Scoggin said.

Gillmore was convicted of only one rape - that of 13-year-old Tiffany Edens. He broke into her Troutdale home while she was doing chores and raped her in December 1986.

Police had been looking for Gillmore for years. They'd dubbed him the 'Jogger Rapist' because he hunted, stalked and raped his victims while jogging.

But he wasn't caught until he raped Edens.

After police arrested Gillmore, he confessed to the other rapes - he even gave detectives a rape tour, pointing out where he attacked his victims. However, Gillmore wasn't convicted of them: The crimes were too old under what was then Oregon's three-year statute of limitations.

A judge presiding over Edens' case, however, took the other victims into consideration and allowed them to testify during Gillmore's sentencing. The judge then sentenced Gillmore to 60 years in prison, with a 30-year minimum.

Less than a year after being convicted of raping Edens, a parole board cut Gillmore's sentence in half, making him eligible for parole in 2001.

Edens testified against his parole request in 2007 and 2008, and ultimately the board opted to keep him in prison. But the emotional toll of reliving her rape every two years - that's how often inmates can request parole - became too much for her. So in 2010, two of his other rape victims - Colleen Kelly and Danielle Tudor - took on the battle to persuade the parole board to keep him in prison.

Gillmore raped Kelly, then 13, in 1980 after breaking into her home. Tudor was 17 in 1979 when Gillmore raped her.

Since that 2010 parole hearing, the board has adopted new rules intended to make the parole process more victim friendly, including a new definition of victim.

'Regardless of the board's intentions, this flawed policy is denying victims their rightful opportunity to testify about the attacks they've suffered,' Wand said.

The new board rule defines victim as 'any person determined by the prosecuting attorney, the court or the board to have suffered direct financial, psychological, or physical harm as a result of a crime that is the subject of a proceeding conducted by the State Board of Parole and Post Prison Supervision.'

That definition is important because only the victim or victims, as well as the district attorney from the county in which the crimes were committed, are allowed to testify at parole board hearings.

If the parole board fails to 'clean up the rule,' Wand said he will introduce legislation in 2013 that will. He serves on the House Judiciary Committee.

Tudor and Kelly are thrilled that Wand is joining the fight.

After reading a media report last week in which they joked about appearing at Gillmore's hearing wearing duct tape over their mouths, Tudor said the board warned them against making such a protest.

'They said duct tape is considered contraband,' Tudor said.

Scroggin said guards who routinely stand by during parole hearings pointed that out. Also, changing one's appearance while in a correctional facility is prohibited. The hearing will take place at the Oregon State Penitentiary in Salem.

If someone at the hearing creates a distraction deemed 'over the top,' guards can remove them from the premises, Scroggin added.

Tudor said she thinks the board is drawing such a hard line on the new rule and definition because of an appeal pending before the Oregon Court of Appeals in which Gillmore objects to the two women being allowed to testify at his 2010 hearing.

'There is a lot at stake here,' Tudor said. 'You've got a criminal dictating the system. That's not right.'