Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Jury picked in sex abuse trial of former Clearwater fire chief

Former Clearwater Fire Chief Jamie Geer, left, and his attorney, David Parry, confer during jury selection Tuesday. Geer  is accused of sexually abusing a girl for several years.


Former Clearwater Fire Chief Jamie Geer, left, and his attorney, David Parry, confer during jury selection Tuesday. Geer is accused of sexually abusing a girl for several years.

LARGO — Lawyers picked a jury of five women and one man to decide the fate of former Clearwater Fire Chief Jamie Geer, who could be sentenced to life in prison if convicted of sexual battery on a young girl.

Prosecutors say Geer sexually abused the girl over a period of about a decade, starting when she was 8 or 9, and ending when she turned 17 and talked to police.

When police first got wind of possible abuse, they interviewed her and she denied it. Then she confirmed it, police said.

She is expected to testify sometime today in what is likely to be a key moment in the trial. It is not yet known if Geer will testify.

Jury selection consumed all of Tuesday. Two people also were selected as alternates — one woman and one man.

Of the 70 potential jurors, nearly two dozen said they had read or heard something about the case. Those people were brought one-by-one into a rear conference room and asked what they remembered from previous media coverage. About half of that group was excused from jury service.

Each of these potential jurors sat at a conference table with the judge and attorneys. Geer also sat at the table a few feet from each juror who came in.

Geer — dressed in a gray suit, blue dress shirt and striped tie — often looked directly at the potential jurors with a slight smile on his face.

One woman said she "obsessively" reads news on the Internet and had formed an unfavorable opinion about Geer's guilt. It would be hard for her to change her mind, she acknowledged.

"Once my mind is set, my mind is set," she said.

Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Philip Federico told her that as a juror, "the one thing we would want is for your mind not to be set."

Most people who said they had heard news coverage of the case did not remember specifics. Many said the media coverage would not prevent them from being impartial if selected.

"I read about it when it first came out and I don't remember details," said one potential juror, a former schoolteacher. She said she could be impartial.

When another was asked if she could base her decisions on the evidence in court, she said, "I would absolutely have to."

One potential juror said she was molested at age 10. Asked if she could be unbiased, she said, "No, not a chance. I'm barely sitting through this … I could not be impartial at all." She was excused.

A man said it would be hard for him to be impartial because, "I just felt that even to be accused of that is horrible and I wouldn't want anything to do with it." He also was excused.

Lawyers are expected to deliver opening statements this morning.

Geer, 58, has been held at the Pinellas County Jail since his arrest in December 2010. He faces charges of sexual battery, lewd or lascivious battery and unlawful sexual activity with a minor.

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

Jury picked in sex abuse trial of former Clearwater fire chief 04/24/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 25, 2012 9:04am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Romano: On this education bill, you decide who is evil


    The political ramifications are not lost on Kristine Benson.

    Six-year-old Chase Benson was born with down syndrome and autism. He attends a private school in Palm Harbor through a Gardiner Scholarship. [Photo courtesy of Kris Benson]
  2. St. Petersburg police team with federal agencies to crack down on gun and drug offenders (w/video)


    ST. PETERSBURG — Police say Raymond Adams, 29, jumped a fence to break into a home in the 800 block of 51st Street Avenue S.

    Some of the guns confiscated during an eight month firearms, drug trafficking, and violent crime operation dubbed the St. Petersburg Violent Crime Reduction Initiative were on display Wednesday, 5/24/17 at the St. Petersburg Police Department.  Federal charges have been filed against 35 individuals and state charges have been filled against 9 individuals in St. Petersburg. SCOTT KEELER   |   Times

  3. Graco recalls car seats; webbing may not hold child in crash

    Public Safety

    Graco Children's Products is recalling more than 25,000 car seats because the harness webbing can break in a crash and may not keep children restrained.

    Graco has recalled eight different car seat models.
  4. Pro Bowl returning to Orlando in 2018


    ORLANDO — The Pro Bowl will return to Orlando in 2018 for the second straight year.

    Bucs  wide receiver Mike Evans runs a route as Denver Broncos cornerback Chris Harris Jr. defends during the first quarter of the AFC-NFC Pro Bowl in January at Camping World Stadium in Orlando. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  5. Plan your weekend: Memorial Day, Sunset Music Fest, comic Pablo Francisco, sci-fi writer Jeff VanderMeer


    Plan your weekend


    Memorial Day: Monday is the day to honor those who died serving their country, and the Bay Pines VA Memorial Day Ceremony will have Fox 13 anchor Alcides Segui as emcee, U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist and musical performances starting at 10 a.m. at 10000 Bay Pines Blvd., St. …

    GULF SHORES, AL - MAY 20:  Diplo of Major Lazer performs at the Surf Stage during 2017 Hangout Music Festival on May 20, 2017 in Gulf Shores, Alabama.  (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for Hangout Music Festival) 700050769