Former Bells officer sentenced for filming up a women's skirts
A former Bells police officer was sentenced Wednesday to two years in state jail on three counts of improper photo of visual recording without consent.
Scott Kilmer, 57, pleaded guilty to the charges in January 2020, but the offenses happened in 2016-2017.
The case that ended Wednesday started when Kilmer, who at that time was an officer with the Bells Police Department, was arrested on for possession of an improper photo or visual recording without consent — a state jail felony.
Kilmer almost immediately resigned from his job where he had worked for nearly four years.
The incident report from Kilmer's arrest said that at about 10:30 p.m. on a Saturday, the Grayson County Sheriff’s Office received a call reporting a possible offense at a wedding taking place in the 14000 block of FM 121 just outside of Van Alstyne. Deputies responded to the scene, and the complainant informed them of a person videoing a woman from underneath her dress.
In the 59th State District Court, Keagan Gregory testified he was at the wedding with his then girlfriend, and he noticed Kilmer, a security guard at the wedding, standing very close behind the girlfriend with his foot between her legs.
Gregory said he thought it was a little bit odd, but the man was a police officer so Gregory walked away. But then Gregory looked back and noticed that his girlfriend was standing there talking to Kilmer.
The girlfriend now wife, Dana Lane, testified that she had talked to Kilmer about the King Cake they were serving at the wedding. Gregory and Lane testified that they later saw Kilmer over in a corner looking at the screen of an electronic device.
Gregory talked to some friends at the wedding about what they saw.
Then when the bride and groom started to leave the wedding everyone was lined up to watch them go and Gregory saw Kilmer going down the line of women sticking his foot in between their legs as they had their backs turned to him.
Gregory and other guests at the wedding stopped Kilmer and asked him about the device on his shoe. Kilmer went to his car while the police were called.
Both Gregory and Lane told Assistant Grayson County District Attorney Matt Rolston they think Kilmer should go to jail for what he did. The crimes he pleaded guilty to have a sentence that ranges from probation to two years in state jail.
“I would feel more comfortable if he were behind bars,” Lane said.
Lane explained that what happened changed her perception of police officers for a while though she now tries to remember that there are good and bad people in all lines of work.
Another guest at the wedding said he discovered that Kilmer had taken similar shots up the dresses of his two daughters, ages nine and six at the time. The father said it was very distressing that they had been treated that way by a police officer because he had tried to teach his children that they could trust police officers.
Kilmer’s attorney, Marcus Olds asked each witness if they had any reason to believe that any of the photos ended up online. Each said they didn’t think that had happened and the defense attorney suggested that must be a relief for them.
Grayson County District Attorney Investigator Issac Bates said a search warrant served at Kilmer’s home turned up 1,600 clips similar to the ones shot at the Van Alstyne wedding. Some were on an external hard drive.
Bates couldn’t tell a lot about the women photographed except they mostly seemed to be at formal events. Dates on some of those photos led him to believe that they were all taken within a year and a half of the Van Alstyne wedding.
While all of the prosecution witnesses argued for District Judge Larry Phillips to throw the book at Kilmer, defense witnesses pointed out a different side to Kilmer.
His wife said he was 48 when he left his truck driving career to follow his life-long goal of working in law enforcement. She said her husband, who had trained K-9s, always loved dogs and really enjoyed combining the two passions.
Problems began when he started taking pain medications for his back which seemed to hurt all of the time, she said. His work with the K-9s meant he got called out at all hours of the night to help other agencies. He took the pain meds on his days off to get to rest.
His arrest on the photography charge she said shook her to the bone. After he was out of jail on those charges, they went to the doctor and found out he had cancer for the second time in his life. The pain in his back was from a tumor pressing on the nerves in his back. He went through chemotherapy, and she said "it was the worst thing I have ever seen. All of his hair fell out. He was really confused."
A doctor then told them he had early onset dementia.
She told Rolston the court hearing this week was the first time she had ever heard that he had taken inappropriate photographs of children and that he never would have done those things if weren't for the medication he was taking.
Others testified that after he was feeling better, he set about to help in his community. His wife said he mowed the grass at church and took care of the things that neighbors needed doing but couldn't do themselves.
Sharon Johns said Kilmer visits her home regularly to help with the "honey dos" her husband can't handle anymore due to his Parkinson's disease. But more than the help with the chores, she said, Kilmer's honesty about the turn his life has taken and the way he spends time just hanging out with her husband makes him know he is still important despite his illness.
Of the charges, including those involving children she said she knew nothing about before Tuesday, Johns said, "he had a lapse in judgment." She added that since then, he has been very repentant and says he is very sorry for what he did.