SLIDELL, La. — A Slidell man has been sentenced to 60 years in prison in Colorado for molesting his daughter and her friends when they were little.
Timothy Gemelli, 57, has been accused of sexually abusing 10 different girls in four states over the last 39 years, but had evaded serious punishment until he was convicted by a jury in Longmont, Colo., in December.
They convicted Gemelli on a count of aggravated incest and five counts of child sexual abuse by a person in a position of trust and following a pattern of abuse.
These most recent charges were brought by two teenage girls and three young women for the way Gemelli touched them when they were between the ages of 4 and 14. One of the women is his own daughter, Destiny Gemelli of Slidell, now 22.
Each of the six charges carries a 12-year prison sentence, but Gemelli got 60 years instead of 72 years because the judge ordered him to serve the incest and sexual abuse counts against Destiny concurrently.
Destiny’s mother, Kim Gemelli, said her ex-husband must serve 45 years before he’s eligible for parole. He would be 102-years old.
The punishment Gemelli faces in Colorado is a far cry from what came from decades of similar accusations in Louisiana and other states.
In January 2019, a jury in St. Bernard Parish found Gemelli not guilty of aggravated incest for allegedly touching Destiny when they lived in Chalmette in the early 2000s, before the family moved to Colorado.
When Gemelli was convicted in Colorado, Sarah Johnson, 21, one of the victims who was a childhood friend of Destiny’s, said she was thankful the Colorado justice system “didn’t fail us like it did in Louisiana.”
Johnson was one of several victims who spoke with WWL-TV in April 2019, describing how Gemelli would bathe her, put lotion on her body after baths and touch her vagina.
The WWL-TV investigation showed how child abuse and molestation claims followed Gemelli around the country over four decades with hardly any repercussions. They started in 1981 when he was 19 and was arrested in St. Bernard Parish for a lewd and lascivious act with a 6-year-old girl. He pleaded guilty to indecent behavior with a juvenile, got a six-month suspended sentence and no sex-offender registry existed at the time.
That 1981 victim, Rhonda Bordelon, is now 45 and spoke with WWL-TV last year. She said the impact of what Gemelli did to her has ruined her family.
Allegations in the 1990s that Gemelli molested three different girls, including his first daughter, Ashley Petty, were recorded in court records in Massachusetts and lodged in sworn statements to police in Texas, but led to no formal charges.
Petty, now 32, also spoke to WWL-TV last year about how her father’s actions had damaged her life. She pledged to testify in the Colorado case to stop Gemelli from hurting anyone else.
Gemelli’s sentencing in Colorado had been scheduled for March, but was delayed until Friday because of the pandemic.