Portland, OR

Are sex offender classifications making Oregon communities unsafe?

Robbie Newport

The case of Richard Gillmore, who was convicted of raping a 13-year-old girl in 1986 after planning out the attack while jogging around Portland and who admitted to raping nine women and girls in the area in the late 70s and 80s, has put the spotlight on glaring injustices concerning the criminal justice system. The now 63-year-old’s release from prison after serving 36 years last December with a low-level sex offender classification (mostly because of his age) arguably puts more potential victims in danger.

These criminal system injustices include the victims formally having no say in the parole board’s decisions, how sex offenders are classified, and how dangerous violent child molesters like Gillmore can be released back into our communities in general without warning. Gillmore’s low-level sex offender status doesn’t require him to be put on the sex offender registry or have the state notify residents in the neighborhood he lives in of his dangerous presence.

A Herald and News article written by Ben Botkin on March 8, explains how victims of the jogger rapist and lawmakers are working to pass legislation this upcoming session to rectify some of these injustices. Two of Gillmore’s victims and Republican senators addressed a press conference on Tuesday supporting legislation that would change the sex offender classification system.

This bill and two other related bills dealing with sex crimes have yet to have a hearing scheduled or Democratic sponsors. The other related bills would increase the statute of limitations from 12 to 20 years in the case of children who are victims and a bill to coordinate the state’s definition of a victim between the state police and the parole board, as the article explains. These relate to the Gillmore case, as 8 of the victims were beyond the statute of limitations, so he was only prosecuted and convicted for one rape.

Alarmingly, if one of the victims didn’t file a lawsuit against the decision of the parole board in 2007, Gillmore would have been released 16 years ago at the age of only 47.

An Oregon Live article written on Dec. 15, explains Gillmore will be on Multnomah County post-prison supervision for at least three years with an electronic ankle bracelet, a curfew, orders not to contact anyone under age 18, and some other living restrictions. After three years there is no certainty he will be under the county's high-risk supervision any longer. He is now living in Portland’s Old Town District in transitional housing, possibly even jogging the streets again.

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Write about local events, social issues, crime, attractions, and more. Live in Eastern Oregon with my wife. Writer, blogger, greenskeeper, Christian, and truth seeker.

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