Sunday, January 10, 2010

Dad guilty of raping 12-year-old daughter; despite videotaped evidence, refuses to admit to crime (Milwaukie, Oregon)

There's got to be a special place in hell for dads like BOBBY GENE PALMER, who raped his 12-year-old daughter, videotaped it, and then has the freaking nerve to say he didn't do it.

Abused girl, 12, confronts accused father in court
By Steven Mayes, The Oregonian
January 10, 2010, 6:00PM

The evidence left no doubt that Bobby Gene Palmer was guilty.

Videotapes seized from his home clearly identify the 40-year-old Milwaukie father raping his 12-year-old daughter. Jailhouse recordings document him working through his family to pressure the girl and possibly influence her testimony.

About the story
Ashley is not the real name of the girl in this story.

She asked to be identified, but The Oregonian generally shields the identity of sex-abuse victims -- especially children -- to protect their privacy and security. Reporter Steve Mayes followed her case through the judicial system and investigated the story through interviews, court documents and public records.

Still, Palmer wouldn't admit to his crimes.

On Oct. 22, the day his trial was to begin in Clackamas County Circuit Court, Palmer's attorney asked for a delay. Time was needed to evaluate Palmer's mental stability, the attorney said. Palmer contended his behavior was affected by drug use, depression, a head injury and sexual molestation he experienced as a child.

Palmer had the right to request more time. And his daughter, Ashley, had a victim's right to be heard.

She had not seen her father since his arrest three months earlier. When the time came for her to speak, she could not find her voice. "She didn't think she could do it," said prosecutor Shannon Kmetic, who read Ashley's statement to the judge.

Ashley sat in a folding chair in the corner. She could see Kmetic but not her father.

She wept as her words were read.

"I love my dad to death, and he needs to say, 'Yes I did it,' because I can't handle it anymore. It is killing me," Ashley wrote. "My whole body is hurting. I am only 12 years old. I'm too young to be having to do this."

Clackamas County Circuit Court Presiding Judge Steven L. Maurer denied Palmer's request for a mental evaluation.

The judge said transcripts of jailhouse conversations between Palmer and his family show he was lucid, aware of his circumstances and hungry for information about Ashley's impending testimony. "A girl of tender years being subject to enormous pressure," Maurer observed.

Ashley was determined to bear that pressure and hold her father accountable.

Despite her tears, she was ready for the trial. Prepared to face jurors and tell them the unpleasant truth. Yes, that's me and my father on all those videos.

That wouldn't be necessary.

Palmer's defense had crumbled.

Just two hours later, he pleaded guilty to nine counts of rape, avoiding the prospect of trial on more than 50 sex-crime charges.

Ashley believes she was the reason he quit fighting.

"He pled guilty because I told him to. He knows he's going to lose. I know it. He knows it was all true," she told The Oregonian. "This time he was doing what I said."

The judge scheduled sentencing for Dec. 2, and Ashley would be there.

"I want to see it with my own eyes."

When the time came, she would speak for herself.

"She knew this was probably the last time she would see her dad,"Kmetic said. "She knew it was her last chance."