A voyeuristic Connecticut socialite pleaded guilty to secretly recording three people, including a child, in a sexual situation in her multimillion-dollar Greenwich mansion.
Hadley Palmer, a mother of four, pleaded guilty to three counts of voyeurism and risk of injury to a minor — all committed in 2017 — on Jan. 19 in state Superior Court. As part of the plea bargain, the two most serious charges levied against her were dropped — employing a minor in an obscene performance, which is a Class A felony, and possession of child pornography.
The charges allege she filmed someone either naked or in their underwear with the “intent to arouse or satisfy the sexual desire of such person (defendant) or any other person.”
Palmer, 53, could face between 90 days and 60 months in prison. She will also be required to register as a sex offender.
However, in an unusual move, her criminal case has been sealed from the public. Judge John Blawie issued the order in Stamford on Thursday, limiting most of the details and criminal proceedings surrounding her crimes.
The judge said the case was sealed in order to protect several victims’ identities, despite objections from the Associated Press.
“Between 2017 and 2018, the defendant knowingly photographed, filmed and recorded certain individuals without their knowledge or consent, and under circumstances where those individuals were not in plain view, and had a reasonable expectation of privacy, and at least one photograph taken by the defendant depicted a person who was a minor,” Blawie wrote in a Feb. 1 ruling that supported sealing Palmer’s file, obtained by the Stamford Advocate.
Her case was first sealed from the public four months ago after she was arrested on Oct. 22. Palmer appeared in court on Oct. 25 before Blawie, who accepted her application for accelerated rehabilitation, which requires cases to be sealed by state law.
However, the original charges against Palmer made her ineligible for the program because they were so serious, the Associated Press reported. Greenwich police, who arrested Palmer following an investigation, have not released any information on the incident either, citing the seal.
Palmer’s attorney, Michael Meehan, withdrew her application on Jan. 14 and filed a motion the same day to seal the file, which was granted Thursday. Attorneys representing the victims also supported the motion to seal the case.
AP reporter Dave Collins argued against sealing the case at a Feb. 1 public hearing, arguing that the case appeared to be a “second tier of justice” where wealthy defendants like Palmer could “keep things secret,” the Stamford Advocate reported.
“The public needs to see what happens in this case,” Collins said.
Palmer also is requesting the judge to close portions of her sentencing — including her own testimony — to the public in another unusual move.
“Having a wholesale sealing of a criminal matter like this is highly unusual and I would argue improper, especially where there are more narrowly tailored means that could exist” to protect the victims’ identities, Jennifer Nelson, a senior staff attorney with the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, told AP.
Palmer is the daughter of hedge fund founder Jerrold Fine. She is in the process of divorcing her venture capitalist husband, Bradley Palmer.
Palmer began serving 90 days in the state women’s prison as part of her plea agreement on Feb. 4.
While she may have to register on the state’s sex offender registry, per her convictions, her plea agreement notes that a judge may seal the registry entry from public view if the judge determines it is not necessary for public safety and could jeopardize the identities of the victims.
The Greenwich Police Department’s investigation also led to the arrest of Dr. Jerome F. Brodlie, an 83-year-old child psychologist, who was arrested in connection to the case in December, the Stamford Advocate reported.
Brodlie, who specializes in treating children and adolescents and has connections to Greenwich Hospital, was charged with failure to report abuse, neglect or injury of a child.
His case file has also been sealed since he applied for accelerated rehabilitation, a pretrial probationary program, according to the paper.