Richard Gillmore: The Monster Next Door

Richard Gillmore
Richard Gillmore

On December 16th serial rapist Richard Gillmore will be released from prison in Oregon.  Gillmore was convicted of raping 13-year-old Tiffany Edens in 1986 in Portland, Oregon.  He admitted to nine other rapes of young women and girls. Authorities think he may be responsible for as many as 100 rapes around the city of Portland during the 1970’s and 1980’s.[i] Despite his known history of preying on and brutalizing young girls, on December 16th Gillmore will be released into the Portland community classified as a low-risk sex offender.

The Oregon parole board uses a system based on a 10-question form to determine the level of risk for a sex offender to re-offend. Level one is the lowest risk. Level three is the highest. Gillmore’s level-one status means, when he is released into a Portland neighborhood, the state of Oregon is not required to notify neighbors of his presence and his name and address will not appear on the sex-offender registry. It means he will be able to move about the community undetected.  

Gillmore is known as the “jogger rapist” because he would jog around Portland neighborhoods, stake out young girls in their homes, come back later and rape them. When he was arrested for raping Edens authorities were not able to charge him with any other rapes because the statute of limitations, which was only three years at the time, had run out.

In 1979, 17-year-old Danielle Tudor got a good look at Gillmore when he broke into her southeast Portland home, badly beat her, and raped her on her mother’s bed. Her composite sketch helped police arrest Gillmore after Edens’ rape in 1986.[ii] After Gillmore was convicted of raping Edens the judge heard testimony from Edens, Tudor, and eight other victims who reported being raped by Gillmore, then sentenced him to a minimum of 30 years and a maximum of 60 years. Gillmore, now 63, could have spent the rest of his life in prison. But because of a decision made by the Oregon parole board overriding the judge’s sentence, he cannot be held beyond December of this year.  

Learn to strike with speed and commitment.

Oregon’s Board of Parole

Every state has a parole board which consists of members with some expertise in the field of criminal justice. The extent of the boards’ autonomy and power varies from state to state. In Oregon the board is a full-time position. Members are appointed by and answer to the Governor, who can extend or limit their power. Current members include a former prosecutor, a former parole officer, a former Chairman of the Oregon Youth Authority, and a former Community Justice Manager for Multnomah County. In 2015 the board was given the power to determine the offender’s level of risk for reoffending. They rely on a widely used tool known as Static 99 to evaluate risk for sex offenders. Part of the Oregon parole board’s stated mission is “supporting positive change in individuals while maintaining accountability.”

A pattern of leniency

An article in WOMEN’S eNews outlines a disturbing pattern of leniency shown by the Oregon Board of Parole toward Gillmore. In 2000 they determined Gillmore’s sentence was too harsh and cut it in half. In 2007, they decided he was ready to be released and granted him parole without informing Edens as state law requires. When Edens found out he had a parole date she and her family demanded another hearing and demanded the right to speak. She was given three minutes to address the board. No other victim or family member was allowed to testify. Even after hearing testimony from several psychologists who said Gillmore was “more dangerous than ever” the board again voted to release him. The district attorney and Edens fought back and sued the board. To settle the suit, they granted a third hearing. Edans, Tudor, and five other victims of Gillmore, including a man whose sister committed suicide after being raped by him, came forward and told their stories to the press creating a public outcry that persuaded the board to leave him behind bars.

The question I have, is what motivates the leniency Oregon’s Board of Parole has shown Gillmore? Perhaps Dr. Anna Salter, an expert on how predators operate, has some answers. Dr. Salter has spent years interviewing and studying sex offenders to better understand how we can protect ourselves. Many sex offenders are psychopaths. Salter found that psychopaths are better at fooling people than any other type of offender. What makes them so dangerous and distinguishes them from other offenders, is not only that they have no conscience and no remorse, but they have an extraordinary ability to con and manipulate. Their superficial charm makes them genuinely likable. Dr. Salter, in her book Predators, gives numerous examples of correctional officers, social workers, religious workers, and other staff and volunteers who work with criminals being seduced by their charm, even when they know they are dealing with a person who has committed heinous acts of violence.[iii]

Part of the parole board’s mission is to support positive change in offenders. Does this predispose them to see Gillmore through the hopeful lens of redemption and rehabilitation?

Deception

I imagine Gillmore can give a stellar performance. He has had 36 years to learn how the system works, to adopt the language and gestures of a changed man, a man with a conscience. He may appear intelligent, introspective, and remorseful. But Richard Gillmore spent a decade hunting, targeting, stalking, and brutalizing young girls in their homes. If he didn’t have a conscience then, he doesn’t have one now. His admission to raping nine girls besides Edens likely has nothing to do with remorse. He only confessed to rapes he knew he couldn’t be charged with. Dr. Salter found that many rapists when they know that what they say won’t hurt them legally, enjoy talking about what they have done. They are narcissists, impressed with all they have gotten away with.

Gillmore’s ability to deceive makes him all the more dangerous to the community. He could possibly sit across from any of us and seem genuinely likable. Will his neighbors see the monster beneath the façade?

Recognize the warning signs of offender behavior.

A broken system

Edens, Tudor, and other survivors of Gillmore’s brutality have looked into the eyes of the monster. They know exactly what lies beneath the façade and have shown unusual courage to keep him where he belongs, in prison. Tudor is a victims’ advocate. In 2009 she worked with the Oregon state legislature to remove the statute of limitations on rape and to require parole boards to spend more time with victims and their family members so today it is less likely that serial rapists will be given leniency. In 2012 she sued the parole board because they tried to block her from speaking. In 2014 she rallied enough public opinion against Gillmore that he put off his parole hearing for another two years.[iv]

This kind of advocacy takes its toll. The current system requires survivors to describe their attacks repeatedly and in public. Many survivors choose not to subject themselves to this. How many Richard Gillmores have been released because of a system that relies so heavily on survivors to hold offenders accountable?

Aftermath

Tudor knows exactly how dangerous Richard Gillmore is. He has threatened at least one victim by phone from prison as well as one of the police officers who arrested him.[v] She left Oregon when she learned of his upcoming release.

He will be released on December 16th, likely into the Old Town district of northwest Portland. His release cannot be stopped, but Governor Kate Brown can issue an emergency order to change his level one offender status to a high-risk level three status. Victims’ advocates and Crime Victims United are asking her to do this as they continue to pressure the Oregon legislature to fix a system that does not protect us from violent offenders. Part of system reform is raising awareness: listening to survivors and receiving the kind of training that experts like Dr. Salter can provide.

In the meantime, we will continue to do our best to take care of ourselves and each other. We will speak up, advocate, share information, and post pictures on neighborhood websites. We will work peacefully, assertively, and persistently to defend ourselves. The Richard Gillmores of the world have the right to seek their own redemption, but they should lose the right to do it in anyone’s neighborhood.[vi]

Feel confident defending yourself and your community.


[i] Cunningham, Ann Marie. “Victims of Serial Rapist Transform Oregon Law.” WOMEN’S eNews, June 3, 2014

[ii] Nelson, Joe. “Jogger rapist set to be released, victim advocates want emergency order.” ABC News, October 14, 2022.

[iii] Salter, Anna C. PH.D. Predators: Pedophiles, Rapists, and Other Sex Offenders, Who They Are, How They Operate, And How We Can Protect Ourselves and Our Children. Basic Books, Perseus Book Group.  New York, NY. 2003.

[iv] Cunningham, Ann Marie. “Victims of Serial Rapist Transform Oregon Law.” WOMEN’S eNews, June 3, 2014.

[v] Cunningham, Ann Marie. “Victims of Serial Rapist Transform Oregon Law.” WOMEN’S eNews, June 3, 2014.

[vi] The following websites have information about the Gillmore case and his upcoming release:

Thomas, Michael. “Oregon jogger rapist to be released from prison after 36 years.” FOX 12 Oregon News, October 10, 2022.

Associate Press. “Authorities releasing serial rapist from Oregon prison.” TND National News. October 10, 2022.

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