Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Former Clearwater Fire Chief Jamie Geer takes stand, denies abusing girl

LARGO — Clearwater's former fire chief on Thursday insisted "I did not, never, ever" molest the woman who says he committed hundreds of sex acts on her during her childhood.

But Jamie Geer's decision to testify in his own behalf also left him with a problem. It meant he could be cross-examined.

Assistant State Attorney Michael Marr grilled Geer about a secretly recorded phone call between the former chief and the girl. In that 2010 call, the teen told Geer they had sex and it was hard for her to deal with.

Marr pointed out that Geer did not deny the claim or even sound surprised by it.

"You never said, 'What are you talking about, why are you saying these things?' " Marr said, adding, "You never said 'we never had sex.' "

"In fact," Marr continued, "you apologized and repeatedly apologized that you didn't know how bad it was eating her up."

But Geer, 58, who presided over a period of rocky relations with the union representing Clearwater firefighters, did not appear shaken. Still looking the part of an executive, dressed in a dark suit and striped tie, he said he believed that phone conversation was a set-up.

He believed union members were maneuvering to have him ousted as chief, grasping at any tactic that might accomplish the job. He also thought the girl and her mother were attempting a "shakedown" to get money out of him. So he played along with the phone call to listen to what she was saying.

"I'm setting her up, I'm double-crossing her, I'm not taking anything she's saying seriously," Geer said.

He said he even tried to record the phone conversation on his iPhone so he could expose "the scam." But he said be botched the recording.

By today, Geer may know if he benefited by speaking directly to the jury that is set to decide his fate. Closing arguments are scheduled for this morning. Then the jury will decide whether to convict him of three charges: sexual battery, lewd or lascivious battery and unlawful sexual activity with a minor. He could be sentenced to life in prison.

The alleged victim in the case, who is now 19, testified for about two and a half hours earlier in the week, and said Geer manipulated her into repeated sex acts.

She said he got her to dress in lingerie as early as age 7, and got her to blow up condoms like balloons before she knew what they were. He coerced her into oral sex and intercourse, she said. This lasted well into her teens, she testified.

Because of the nature of the allegations, the Times is withholding her name and some details about her relationship with Geer that could identify her.

Her lengthy testimony forms the crux of the state's case, but prosecutors have presented other evidence as well.

A Florida Department of Law Enforcement agent determined Geer purchased lingerie at Dillard's at International Plaza. The woman said she was with Geer when he bought the lingerie and took her to a fire chief convention in Jacksonville, where he made her pose in it.

But Geer had an explanation — he stopped at Dillard's for the lingerie because he was planning to meet a female friend in Jacksonville.

While prosecutors have focused on the girl's story, Geer's defense attorney, David Parry, has been focusing on Geer's relations with unionized firefighters. Geer said the union was angry with him after he investigated missing drugs in the department. Testimony also has revealed the girl's mother was having an affair with a firefighter who was high on Geer's list of people to investigate.

When the girl was first asked about the alleged abuse, she denied it, but instead blamed that same firefighter. She later recanted that and accused Geer. The firefighter was not called to testify.

Also Thursday, FDLE Agent Edie Neal testified about her interview with the girl. During the first interview, she denied that Geer abused her, but in a second interview she said he had.

Neal said she considered Geer a "preferential" sex abuser, who preferred sex with children, and who would likely store child pornography. A search of Geer's house and vehicle turned up several videotapes, but none showed pornography. Some appeared to have been taped over. There was one image on one tape of someone in lingerie. Geer smiled when asked about the image, and said it was an adult with whom he used to have a relationship.

Times Staff Writer Curtis Krueger can be reached at or (727) 893-8232.

Former Clearwater Fire Chief Jamie Geer takes stand, denies abusing girl 04/26/12 [Last modified: Thursday, April 26, 2012 10:46pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Two boys in critical condition after Largo crash


    LARGO — A 7-year-old boy was thrown from a car in a head-on crash on Starkey Road, and both he and a 6-year-old boy were in critical condition Sunday night, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

  2. Trump's new order bars almost all travel from seven countries


    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Sunday issued a new order banning almost all travel to the United States from seven countries, including most of the nations covered by his original travel ban, citing threats to national security posed by letting their citizens into the country.

    President Donald Trump speaks to reporters Sunday upon his return to the White House in Washington.
  3. Somehow, Rays' Chris Archer remains just shy of being an ace

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — Chris Archer had another bad game Sunday.

    Chris Archer is sputtering to the finish line, his rough start on Sunday his fourth in his past five in which he hasn’t gotten past four innings.
  4. In Mexico City, hopes of finding quake survivors dwindle


    MEXICO CITY — Five days after the deadly magnitude 7.1 earthquake, the hulking wreckage of what used to be a seven-story office building is one of the last hopes: one of just two sites left where searchers believe they may still find someone trapped alive in Mexico City.

    Rescue workers search for survivors inside a felled office building in the Roma Norte neighborhood of Mexico City on Saturday.
  5. GOP health bill in major peril as resistance hardens among key senators


    WASHINGTON — The floundering Republican attempt to undo the Affordable Care Act met hardening resistance from key GOP senators Sunday that left it on the verge of collapse even as advocates vowed to keep pushing for a vote this week.

    Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, a moderate, said Sunday that it was “very difficult” to envision voting for this health-care bill.