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Recently I learned that the man who raped me, Richard Troy Gillmore, known as Portland’s “Jogger Rapist,” would not participate in his ninth parole hearing April 6. How the Oregon Board of Parole and Post-Prison Supervision responded to his request was nothing short of historic.


I had just boarded a flight to spend time with my family when my phone rang. Luckily, no one else was sitting in my row on my flight to Denver that Friday afternoon. They would not have understood the tears that flowed down my face over the next two hours, as I began to absorb the information I had just been given.

It seemed fitting that I was alone at this moment, just as I was on the night of Nov. 11, 1979, where my story began.

That night, I was barely 17, a naive, self-conscious girl, a virgin. Gillmore broke into my childhood home, hunted me down in the darkness, raped and beat me. As he groped at my body and ripped off my clothing, I screamed in terror. He beat me even harder, and I heard the venom in his voice as he told me to shut up or he would kill me.

My rapist took choices from me that night that changed my life forever. I had vowed to remain a virgin until I married. That youthful dream was crushed, and I never felt safe in my own home again.

Today I live with multiple security measures, and sometimes I find myself peering out the window, searching for the stranger in the darkness who isn’t there.

It took me over 30 years to admit I was a rape victim. I would call my assault anything else but what it was.

In 2008, the Multnomah County district attorney who had prosecuted Gillmore asked me to step forward and share my story at Gillmore’s upcoming parole hearing. Instinctively, I refused. I was terrified of letting myself go back to such a terrible experience. I had survived by erasing the name of my rapist from my memory, and closing the door on what he had done to me.

I eventually called the DA’s office back and offered to do what I could to help — and my life was once again changed forever. But this time it was my choice.

Since 2008, I have attended two of Gillmore’s parole hearings; each time he has been denied parole. After Gillmore received the most recent copy of his psychological examination, he sent the parole board a request to cancel his hearing and be deferred for two more years.

After reviewing Gillmore’s case and psychological evaluation report, the parole board responded with an unprecedented decision — there will be no more parole hearings, but a firm release date of January 1, 2023. In less than seven years, Richard Gillmore will be released back into society.

The burden lifted off my mind and heart when I learned of their decision to deny future parole hearings was immense. But I felt sick with the realization that that burden would now shift to the community upon Gillmore’s release. He is a man full of anger and rage toward women and girls and, more pointedly, to those who have been outspoken in denying him parole. Gillmore has purposefully chosen not to attend his last two parole hearings because he wants to keep important information regarding his dangerous condition out of public knowledge. He doesn’t want you to know that he has been diagnosed as an extreme risk to re-offend once released.

I now realize that when Gillmore is released, I will lose the last shreds of any safety I have been able to find. I will have to remain on high alert, always looking over my shoulder the rest of my life.

I will never find that place again where I will be able to erase the name of my rapist from my memory.

But when I weigh that against the good I have been able to accomplish for victims’ rights, I know I would do it all again. I have no regrets.

It has been incredibly gratifying and healing to be involved in legislative change, parole board changes, and work groups to see an end to the era where victims no longer will hear, “Were sorry, but the statute of limitations is up for your case, there is nothing we can do.”

I was invited to be a member of the Portland Police Bureau’s Sexual Assault Task Force, as our state moves forward to test our rape kit backlog. I have witnessed the deep regret of law enforcement concerning the backlog and the determination to fix this, once and for all. I have been astounded by their willingness and transparency in this process. I have sat and listened as they have had to apologize over and over to a victim whom they have no answers for regarding her rape kit from 1987.

For many victims, this is the only justice they will receive: knowing the next rape victim will have the opportunity for justice that they were denied. My hope is that somehow this can be of some comfort and healing.

As we approach the first batch of rape kits being sent for testing, we have the added challenge of ensuring that the notification process is victim-sensitive and victim-centered.

Oregon is at the front edge of a tsunami of sweeping changes across the country, with both the elimination of the statute of limitations on rape and our rape kit backlog. What we design here has the potential to become a template for other states to follow. There is high expectation and enthusiasm from both the Portland Police Bureau and the Multnomah County DA’s office; both entities that I hold in high regard and respect and am honored to work with.

In the process, I have learned that I am no longer a victim, but a survivor. I want to inspire that same hope, healing and future to other rape victims. I want them to know, you are stronger than you think.

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