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Judge denies request to lower bail for ex-Clearwater fire chief

LARGO — Former Clearwater fire Chief Jamie Geer, accused of sexually abusing a young girl for years, appeared in court Friday seeking a reduction of his $500,000 bail.

But Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Philip Federico denied the request, and noted, "It seems to me there is substantial evidence in this case." His ruling will keep the former chief in the Pinellas County Jail, at least for the near future.

Geer appeared in his blue jail scrubs beside defense attorney David Parry, who said Geer has no criminal record and that he wants to get out of the Pinellas County Jail so he can resume working in some capacity and help prepare a defense.

When setting or reducing bail, judges consider whether the person who was arrested is dangerous, and whether he or she is likely to return to court to face their charges.

Geer was fired as chief after he was arrested in December and accused of molesting a girl for nearly a decade. He has been charged with capital sexual battery, lewd or lascivious battery and unlawful sexual activity with a minor.

Police accuse Geer of sexually abusing the girl from the time she was 8 or 9 years old until she was 17.

But Parry, in arguing for a lower bail on Friday, said the girl initially told the police Geer did not abuse her.

Court records released in the case show at least two Fire Department employees previously heard sexual abuse allegations against Geer, and one confronted him on several occasions.

The records show the girl initially denied the allegations against Geer, but that she later said the allegations were true and that she lied so Geer wouldn't get into trouble.

Judge denies request to lower bail for ex-Clearwater fire chief 03/25/11 [Last modified: Friday, March 25, 2011 7:42pm]
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