Police hunt for a serial rapist, devastated to discover he’s one of their own. Illinois Policeman Jeff Pelo, convicted of serial rape. The father of three, was found guilty on 35 counts of rape, kidnap and stalking. He was sentenced to 440 years — one of the longest sentences in Illinois history.
His first victim was 25-year-old Kristi Mills who woke up to see a masked intruder standing in her doorway. “I was in shock,” Mills said. “Absolute shock. I looked at the door and saw the light there, and something just didn’t seem right. And that’s when I saw him. “The next thing I remember is he was on top of me in the bed,” she said.
Her attacker was wearing a ski mask and gloves and he seemed very methodical and calm as he tied her “He actually taped all the way around my head so that I wouldn’t be able to open my mouth at all. Put tape over my eyes.” . There was not a trace of panic in his voice – Mills said that he looked like he knew exactly what he was doing. After sexually assaulting her for 45 minutes he made her take a long bath as he calmly walked about her apartment cleaning up after himself.
Two years later, the rapist found his fourth victim, 28-year-old restaurant manager Sarah Kalmes-Gliege. He made it clear he had been stalking her, and he threatened her loved ones. “The majority of the assault was spent just humiliating and demeaning and terrorizing me. I mean, it wasn’t at all about anything to do with sex. Just devastation is what, how I felt.”
Bloomington, Ill., Police Detective Clay Wheeler had spent two years, from December 2002 to January 2005, pursuing the first serial rapist in his town’s memory : “I’ve seen more brutal things, more violent things, but some of the things that happened and what he would say and tell these girls as he’s assaulting them, and I mean, I get chills and just … it just disgusts me,” he said. When the police turned to the FBI for help, they were told the rapist might be a seemingly model citizen. Still the police didn’t have the prime suspect.
After one of the potential victims called the police, an officer showed up at her front door, just to find a man standing against the house, and in the glare of his flashlight, saw the intruder turn and walk away. He was in shock when he realized he knew the man who turned around. It was one of his own … fellow Bloomington police officer Jeff Pelo, his former supervisor. Pelo was a 17-year veteran of the Bloomington police, a former policeman of the year and married father of three.
Mounting evidence revealed how Pelo may have used his police training and access to commit the crimes and cover his tracks. Detectives found that Pelo’s police computer had been used to run license plate searches on three of the victims. Then, a search of Pelo’s home turned up a jacket and a ski mask made of fibers that matched the kind found on the duct tape used to bind Mills. All three victims recognized his voice and his eyes they say they cannot forget.
Jeff Pelo was found guilty on 35 counts of rape, kidnap and stalking and was sentenced to 440 years of life in prison. Go see a series of videos on ABC news, starting with When A Rapist Wears A Badge.
-article from ABC news rewritten and adapted by administrator-