Nation - Oregon Notorious 'Jogger Rapist' seeks parole Victims do not believe his claim of religious transformation

By Alan Gustafson

Statesman Journal

SALEM, Ore. (AP) -- A notorious Oregon serial rapist is making a new pitch for parole.

Richard Gillmore, the "Jogger Rapist," is scheduled to come up for parole consideration again June 9 before the State Board of Parole and Post-Prison Supervision.

The looming hearing at the Oregon State Penitentiary in Salem will open a new chapter in one of the most controversial cases in parole board history.

Gillmore's victims and other people who oppose his release describe him as a cunning, dangerous sociopath who belongs behind bars.

"If he gets out and he's not happy in a relationship or he's not getting attention from women or if he just starts kind of going into those thought processes, there will be another Tiffany," said Tiffany Edens, who was 13 when Gillmore broke into her Portland-area home and raped her in December 1986.

Gillmore, 50, describes himself as a changed man, transformed by Christian faith, self-help books and prison treatment programs.

In a new self-authored parole plan, Gillmore vows to lead a crime-free life if he gets released from prison.

"Having grown spiritually, in awareness, honesty and empathy, I have the skills to live responsibly and respectfully," he states. "This is a life that can be summed up in the statement, 'You shall love your neighbor as you love yourself.'"

Edens said his words ring hollow.

"Just words from his mouth are not going to change who he is, and it's not going to stop him," she said. "He's smarter now. He knows what he needs to say in order to play the part. But he is still not empathetic to me or any of the other victims. It's still about him."

Gillmore won't be attending the upcoming parole hearing in Salem. He is scheduled to testify via closed-circuit television from the Two Rivers Correctional Institution in Umatilla.

That's disappointing for Rebecca Edens-Ahsing, mother of Tiffany Edens.

"I wanted to look him in the face," she said.

Edens-Ahsing plans to testify against Gillmore's parole. But her daughter plans to skip the hearing, citing trauma connected to her past activism in the case.

"I literally had to relive that night, almost on a daily basis for a while," Tiffany Edens said. "So I'm suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. That just really means I have bad dreams, high anxiety, and I'm trying to work through it now as a functioning adult and a parent rather than as a 14-year-old who tried to bury it."

Edens added: "I'm not trying to run away from it. I don't want him out. I just don't want to get as involved as I was. I can't revisit that night to that degree."

After Gillmore was arrested for raping Edens, he admitted to at least seven other sexual attacks in the Portland area in the 1970s and '80s. The "Jogger Rapist" label stemmed from his practice of hunting for victims while jogging.

Gillmore wasn't prosecuted for the other rapes because they were too old under Oregon's then-applicable three-year statute of limitations.

In the Edens case, a judge sentenced Gillmore to 60 years in prison, with a 30-year minimum. However, a parole board cut his sentence in half in 1988, less than a year after he was convicted.

The parole board rejected Gillmore's requests for release in 2001, 2003 and 2005.

In September 2007, the board green-lighted him for parole. Edens didn't know he had been granted parole until after the board approved releasing him. She was outraged to hear that he was on the verge of being released.

At her request, the board held a second hearing in October 2007, giving her a chance to testify. The board stuck to its earlier decision: Gillmore remained dangerous but could be adequately controlled with supervision and treatment in the community.

In a last-ditch appeal, Edens and the Multnomah County district attorney's office sued the board to block Gillmore's release. A Marion County judge ruled that the board had committed several procedural errors, including failing to give Edens proper notice about hearings and failing to provide a full written explanation for its decision to free Gillmore, despite finding that he was still dangerous.

A new parole hearing emerged from an out-of-court settlement.

At that hearing, in June 2008, Edens vividly described how her carefree childhood was shattered when Gillmore invaded her home and sexually assaulted her.

"I'm hoping everyone in this room will get a sense of what being attacked and raped feels like," she said.

Gillmore testified that he profoundly regretted his crimes: "I don't even have enough words to describe what I've done. I have to live with this shame."

After the all-day hearing, the board reversed its two previous decisions and denied Gillmore's bid for freedom.

In the wake of the controversial case, the parole board's procedures were reviewed by a committee that included victim advocates, prosecutors, criminal defense attorneys and others.

The advisory panel issued a report that recommended changes, including better communication between the parole board and victims.

Edens said some positive changes occurred, but most of the work group's recommendations weren't heeded. "For them to not do anything with those in 18 months is appalling," she said. "It's like a slap in the face again."

Though Edens opposes Gillmore's latest bid for parole, she expects him to be freed someday.

"He will inevitably get out," she said. "He can't be stopped forever. I need to come to terms with that. You know, that's tough."

After the parole hearing in June 2008, prison officials transferred Gillmore from the Oregon State Correctional Institution in Salem to the Two Rivers prison in Umatilla.

Gillmore described the transfer as a tough adjustment.

"The transfer to TRCI was a big change in that it took me out of a comfort zone and a community that had been a part of my life for over twenty years," he states in his parole plan.

"A new job, making new friends and trying to become involved in a new community. Sort of what I imagine parole might be like one day."

Gillmore asserts that he evolved into "a mature, responsible adult" during his prison incarceration. He outlines eight relapse-prevention steps he intends to take if granted parole, including completion of a sex-offender treatment program, daily contact with a support group, joining a church, landing a job and living a responsible life one day at a time.

"I am absolutely certain that I can deal with anything that may come my way," he states.

Like before, Gillmore says he feels remorse for the anguish of his victims.

"One thing that I will never forget is how much harm I have caused to so many," he states. "The past several years have reopened a lot of those wounds and I know that some of them have never really closed. I cannot change the past and can only simply say, from my heart, how deeply, deeply sorry I am."

If given a parole date, Gillmore says he has a tentative offer of housing in Portland.

"I have no job offers at this time," he states, "though I continue to look. One of the conditions of parole requires that I be actively looking for work so this would be a priority of mine. I also know that my parole officer will have input as well."

Published: Wed, Jun 2, 2010