Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Young woman testifies in sex abuse trial of former Clearwater fire chief

LARGO — Point by point, sex act by sex act, a 19-year-old woman gave a detailed account of being abused for years by former Clearwater fire Chief Jamie Geer.

Testifying in the trial that could send Geer to prison for life, her story began when she was about 7 and continued well into her teens. She said Geer manipulated her into possibly hundreds of sex acts, starting literally before she knew what sex was.

Her testimony, made over 2½ hours on Wednesday, will form the crux of the state's case against the former fire chief. She was cross-examined by defense attorney David Parry, but never wavered from her story of abuse. She was calm and collected and didn't get rattled or break down in tears.

She said that when she was about 7, Geer explained what sex was and had her watch him masturbate. Later, he had her pose in black lingerie. And then pink lingerie. He gave her condoms and she blew them up like balloons, not understanding their use.

At age 11, she said, he had her perform oral sex. She said the abuse continued well into her teens and eventually included intercourse.

Geer, she said, manipulated her by working out a system of "trades," offering to buy her things in exchange for sex acts. At first, they traded for notebooks and school clothes. Later, he gave her cellphones and purses, she said. Even birthday and Christmas presents were in exchange for sex. And in her mid teens, she said, he was willing to give her beer and cigarettes.

Even after she got pregnant by a boyfriend at age 15, Geer still wanted sex acts during her pregnancy, she said. But the items for trade had evolved. By then, she said, she was bartering for medicine and ultrasound procedures.

Among other things, she said he would take her to out-of-town firefighting conventions and videotape her as she performed sex acts on him.

She said she understood the sex had to remain a secret, because if it came out, "he would lose his job and he would deny everything." She testified that she withheld the secret from her mother, who she said had a drug and alcohol problem.

The mother, who also testified Wednesday, said she was "angry and frustrated and hurt" when her daughter did tell her about the abuse. She acknowledged that she did not call police but said she did try to keep her daughter out of Geer's house — attempts that ultimately were not successful.

The mother said she felt "blindsided and didn't know what to do." She said she "didn't really want to ruin his political career."

Instead, she said she confronted Geer directly, telling him "I know you molested my daughter. I hate you."

She said he responded by saying, "I'm sorry, I'll never do that again."

When she asked why he did it, she said he told her it was because her daughter "was curious."

During the daughter's testimony Wednesday, she said her mother did at one point urge her to call police, but the mother also said she was afraid that she herself might be charged with child neglect for not reporting the abuse.

Then in 2010, the mother arranged for her daughter to speak to agents from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. At first, the girl denied the accusations. She even implicated her mother's boyfriend which, she said Wednesday, was an attempt to divert agents away from Geer. She said she did not want to ruin Geer's career and life, although she did want the abuse to stop.

But later, she said, she decided to come forward after she was troubled by nightmares. She spoke to a female FDLE agent, telling her of what she said was years of abuse.

Agents arranged for her to make a phone call to Geer that was secretly recorded. In the call, she asked him about the abuse. He did not specifically deny it, but said he had "never done anything" to hurt her.

The recording was played for the jury.

Defense attorney Parry sought to cast doubt on the accuser's story. During his opening statement, he pointed out that she at first denied the abuse. He also pointed out that the allegations against Geer were made at a time of intense conflict between Geer and unionized firefighters at the Clearwater Fire Department. And that her mother's boyfriend — the person the girl initially accused — was a union firefighter who worked under Geer.

Parry also pointed out that agents raided Geer's home in hopes of finding videotapes of sex acts. What they found, he said, were numerous videotapes of school plays and a graduation ceremony, "all the things that you find in a normal home."

Because of the nature of the allegations, the Times is withholding the girl's name as well as details about her relationship with Geer that could identify her.

If convicted, Geer, 58, could be sentenced to life in prison. He has been charged with sexual battery, lewd or lascivious battery and unlawful sexual activity with a minor.

The trial could conclude today.

Former Clearwater fire Chief Jamie Geer listens to testimony Wednesday at the Pinellas County Criminal Justice Center.


Former Clearwater fire Chief Jamie Geer listens to testimony Wednesday at the Pinellas County Criminal Justice Center.

Young woman testifies in sex abuse trial of former Clearwater fire chief 04/25/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 25, 2012 9:59pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. White House communications director Dubke steps down


    WASHINGTON — Mike Dubke, White House communications director, has resigned in what could be the start of a series of changes to President Donald Trump's senior staff.

    President Donald Trump speaks at the Memorial Amphitheater in Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., Monday, May 29, 2017, during a Memorial Day ceremony. [Associated Press]
  2. Trump pays somber tribute to fallen troops on Memorial Day


    ARLINGTON, Va. — President Donald Trump expressed the nation's "boundless" gratitude for the ultimate sacrifice paid by Americans defending the United States, dedicating his first Memorial Day address as commander in chief to a top Cabinet secretary and two other families who lost loved ones.

    Brittany Jacobs, left, watches as her 6-year-old son Christian Jacobs meets President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence in Section 60 of Arlington National Cemetery, Monday, May 29, 2017, in Arlington, Va. Jacobs father, Marine Sgt. Christopher Jacobs, was killed in 2011. [Associated Press]
  3. Florida education news: Budgets, discipline, charter schools and more


    BUDGETING: Florida school district officials keep a close eye on their spending plans as they await word on the Legislature's budget. Gov. Rick Scott

  4. Forecast: Return of summertime pattern means afternoon storms on tap for Tampa Bay


    As if Memorial Day wasn't enough of a signal that summer truly is upon us, this week's forecast across the Tampa Bay area will be a stark reminder.

    Tampa Bay's 7-day forecast. [WTSP]
  5. Tiger Woods says medication, not alcohol, led to DUI arrest in Florida

    Public Safety

    Players arriving for a tournament this week at Muirfield Village might notice a framed picture of Tiger Woods with a resplendent smile and bright red shirt. He's posed there with the trophy, an image that embodies the excitement he once brought to golf.

    This image provided by the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office on Monday, May 29, 2017, shows Tiger Woods. Police in Florida say Tiger Woods was been arrested for DUI.  [Palm Beach County Sheriff's office via AP]