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Judges decision keeps serial rapist in jail, at least temporarily

Board criticized for ignoring expert testimony on rapist
by: Contributed photo, Richard Troy Gillmore

Serial rapist Richard Troy Gillmore will remain in jail - for now. Marion County Judge Paul Lipscomb sided with the plaintiffs Friday, Jan. 11, in an unusual lawsuit that pitted Tiffany Edens, one of Gillmore's victims, against the Oregon Parole Board.

The decision, open to appeal, means the parole board must reconsider its decision in a new hearing at a later date. The board said in a written statement that it is 'reviewing the court's decision and will consider its options.'

Gillmore is known as the infamous 'Jogging Rapist' because he stalked and raped women while he was jogging in the 1970s and 1980s. He admitted to seven rapes, including the attack on Edens, who was 13 and a Troutdale resident at the time.

At an October hearing, the board decided to release Gillmore because it concluded that he could be adequately controlled in the community. Oregon law allows release on these grounds, but it must also provide a detailed, written rationale, which it failed to do. Additionally, the board did not properly notify Edens of the parole hearing, as required by law.

Multnomah County District Attorney Michael Schrunk joined Edens as a co-plaintiff in the suit.

Gillmore was denied parole on three previous occasions because the board found that he remained a danger to others. The board's opinion about Gillmore's risk factor did not change in October, but 'the board also, and for the first time, concluded that he could be adequately controlled in the community with supervision and treatment,' Lipscomb wrote in his decision.

'No explanation for that change was offered,' he added.

A detailed explanation for release would include specifics about how an offender can be treated in the community, and Lipscomb wrote that evidence of these resources must be present at the parole hearing.

'Apparently, however, it is the board's practice to defer all issues relating to the resources actually available in the community to a later date,' Lipscomb wrote.

The board decided to release Gillmore despite a psychological evaluation stating that he would likely re-offend. Deputy District Attorney Russell Ratto, who originally prosecuted Gillmore in 1987, said Gillmore is more dangerous than a typical sex offender.

'Not only do we have a sex offender, but we also have an offender that we call an antisocial personality,' Ratto said. 'Those offenders can't be treated.'

Lipscomb's decision explicitly states that he has no authority to override the board's judgment about whether Gillmore is treatable. But he also wrote that he feels 'compelled' to point out that the board did not give proper consideration to the opinion of a professional psychologist - the only psychological evidence on record.

'Apparently, in the board's view, Gillmore's own reassurances outweighed Dr. Colistro's strongly expressed professional concerns about Gillmore's increased sexual violence risk,' Lipscomb wrote.

Lipscomb also wrote that he hopes the disparity 'can be remedied during the next hearing.'

The sharply expressed judicial concern is unusual, said Edens' attorney, Douglas Beloof, and speaks to the severity of the board's missteps.

'Judges are frequently concerned, but they rarely set this type of concern in an opinion,' Beloof said. 'The court is expressing its opinion in the interest of good government.'

The board could theoretically come to the same conclusion in a new hearing. But, even if the board's logic is faulty, Ratto said the board must alter its decision-making process.

'If the board was to hold another hearing and author a parole release decision in the same words on this occasion, we'd be back in front of Judge Lipscomb,' Ratto said.

The new parole hearing will be the board's third attempt at conducting a proper hearing. The board initially decided to release Gillmore on Sept. 11, but rescinded its decision when Edens protested that she was not notified of the hearing.

The board came to an identical conclusion on Oct. 23 - 18 days after it notified Edens. The law requires victims to receive at least 30 days notice of parole hearings if they desire it.

Edens said the lack of notice impeded her ability to argue against Gillmore's release.

'This time I will be able to use all of my rights and have an attorney present that knows what those rights are,' Edens said.

The parole board's decision in October resulted in intense scrutiny, primarily because Edens and her family have not shied from public view.

'The women in my family are pretty outspoken; (Gillmore) just chose the wrong person,' Edens said. 'Or you can say he chose the right person.'