Police Sergeant Doubled as Serial Rapist

"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 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 Sarah.

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."

Sarah Kalmes-Gliege said Dick was choked up and teary when he told her. "And you could just see how much this breach of trust and the breach of the oath that they have taken to 'serve and protect' had affected them."

Wheeler marveled at the victims' capacity for empathy.

"You would think that they would be mad at the department, felt violated by us. But they were trying to help us get through it as much as anything," he said.

Family Stands By Pelo

Pelo's family -- his wife of 20 years, Rickie, and their three kids -- stand 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 19-year-old daughter Shayla's softball team. "He was like the best family man you could ever ask for," Shayla Pelo said. "I mean, he went to all of our sporting events and, you know, every day he would tell us how much he loved us."

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."

When Pelo went on 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."

Kalmes-Gliege agreed: "I do think that his biggest mistake was he chose the wrong women to assault," women who were strong enough to come forward, she said.

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