Police Sergeant Had Secret Life as Serial Rapist


Detectives found that Pelo's police computer had been used to run license plate searches on three of the victims. Pelo claimed that someone else must have been using his computer terminal.

"Victims described how [the rapist] would pull some of the items around from his belt. You know, the gloves that they described were consistent with what police officers or security officers commonly wear," Wheeler remembered. It made sense that the rapist might be a cop, he said.

During a tense interrogation, Pelo denied "prowling" around Galuska's home and said he was only looking at the nearby lake. He was house-hunting, he said, rubbing his head and eyebrows nervously.

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.

"Fiber evidence was what I think was the most important," Dick said. "About the only actual physical evidence to tie Jeff Pelo to these crimes."

The victims were brought in to see if they could identify him, first through a voice line-up. "The third victim, when she heard his voice, she literally curled up into the fetal position and pulled herself into the wall of the interview room," Dick said.

"If you spend two hours listening to that person threatening, degrade you, it doesn't take very much to recognize it," said Kalmes-Gliege.

Three victims also picked Pelo out of a photo line-up, even though the rapist had worn a mask during the attacks. But it was those clear blue eyes both Kalmes-Gliege and Mills said they remembered so vividly.

Believing Pelo was the rapist, Dick and Wheeler said he had betrayed the badge they held dear.

"To go to the victims and have to tell them that 'This was one of my own that did this to you,'" Dick said. "It was pretty devastating."

Family Stands By Pelo

Pelo's family -- his wife of 20 years, Rickie, and their three kids -- stood by him. Rickie Pelo said the police jumped to conclusions.

"He was in the wrong place at the wrong time," she said. "He's explained to me. He's never given me any reason not to believe him. So I do believe him."

Pelo's home life was exemplary, according to his family. He seemed to be a devoted family man who volunteered at his kids' schools. He coached his daughter's softball team and was present at all sporting events.

Rickie Pelo describes her husband as being her kids' biggest fan. "In fact, my oldest daughter's friends would always joke around. They knew when her dad was in the audience because they could hear him," she said.

At Pelo's trial in May 2008, the most damaging testimony came from his victims.

"The women that were his victims, the women that survived his attacks, were all women that were willing to stand up," Mills said. "We took control back. And I think that's what really led to his downfall."

After six weeks the jury returned a damning verdict: guilty on 35 counts of rape, kidnapping and stalking. He was sentenced to 440 years, one of the longest sentences in Illinois history. Pelo is currently appealing, asking a judge to overturn his conviction.

"I just felt it was important to have him be accountable to me, to my family, to the public for the things that he did. I have no doubt that the person sitting in jail right now, Mr. Pelo, is who is responsible for every single one of these attacks," said Kalmes-Gliege.

But Pelo's family says the jury got it wrong. "I don't think he did it," Rickie Pelo said.

  • 1
  • |
  • 2
  • |
  • 3
  • |
  • 4
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...