Socialite Who Filmed Underage Kids Gets Out of Jail Early
Hadley Palmer, the Connecticut socialite who went to prison last November for secretly recording minors in her $10 million mansion, now walks free.
The Greenwich mother-of-four entered a transitional supervision program and was granted early release on Wednesday, the state Department of Correction confirmed to The Daily Beast. Under the program, which is similar to parole, inmates with sentences of two years or less can serve the remainder of their punishment in a halfway house or with a sponsor.
“She’s in the community,” said public information officer Andrius Banevicius, who noted the 54-year-old inmate is still serving her time, just outside prison walls.
Reached by phone on Wednesday, Palmer declined to comment.
Between her initial 90-day prison stint last spring and the 71 days she completed this winter, Palmer served less than half of her one-year sentence in a state penitentiary.
When she was arrested in October 2021, Palmer faced charges including employing a minor in an obscene performance and second-degree child pornography. Greenwich police said Palmer filmed three minors without their knowledge and for her own sexual gratification in 2017 and 2018, and that one of the victims was 15 or younger.
In January 2022, she pleaded guilty to three counts of voyeurism and one count of risk of injury to a minor. As part of a plea deal, she agreed to serve an initial term of 90 days at York CI, the state’s only facility for female prisoners, before her November sentencing.
At the sentencing hearing, State’s Attorney Paul Ferencek revealed that Palmer recorded the victims unclothed and at times fully naked at her waterfront home in Belle Haven and shared the footage with an unnamed third party. She faced up to 5 years behind bars.
Stamford Superior Court Judge John Blawie—who sealed Palmer’s case from public view to protect the victims—ordered her to serve one year in prison and 20 years of probation. She is required to register as a sex offender for the next decade.
Blawie also granted one female victim a 30-year criminal protective order, barring Palmer from contacting her.
Little is known about the criminal case against Palmer, and it’s unclear why she was arrested years after her crimes. The daughter of prominent hedge-fund founder Jerrold Fine, Palmer was known in Greenwich society circles and photographed at charity fundraisers with her now-ex-husband, venture capitalist Brad Palmer.
The sealing of Palmer’s case, which was opposed by the Associated Press, raised concerns about a two-tiered justice system that favors the wealthy. Open government advocates, defense lawyers, and journalists elsewhere in the state questioned why the case files couldn’t be released with pseudonyms or redactions. “Judge Blawie said in his lengthy sealing decision that it was not possible to protect the victims with redactions, as is routinely done in similar criminal cases,” noted David Collins, a columnist for New London newspaper The Day. “I find that hard to believe. You can redact a lot and still leave a lot. Even if most of the documents have to be redacted, it is possible to at least show an effort at transparency.”
Still, Palmer is not without supporters.
One acquaintance told The Daily Beast they believe there’s more to Pamer’s story and they’re happy she was released. “I think it’s great,” the person said, adding of the disturbing accusations against her: “On the surface it’s one thing and when you know someone it’s another.”
“Please let her know there are a lot of people out there who believe in her and saw the story for what it was,” the person continued.
Palmer’s arrest arrived in the middle of her combative divorce, leading to speculation among acquaintances that Brad could have turned her in to police.
In family court filings, Palmer repeatedly invoked her Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination in response to Brad’s requests for discovery, including copies of “photographs, video and audio recordings sent to or received from any person with whom you have had a sexual or romantic relationship, whether in person or solely by remote means.” She also objected to a request for “all reports by private investigators or other surveillance” pertaining to her “spouse or any child of the marriage.”
For her part, Palmer requested files records on “background checks, surveillance or other services of any and all private investigators, police officers or investigation services procured by you or on your behalf.”
Palmer filed for divorce in June 2020, stating that her marriage had “broken down irretrievably.” Her former spouse filed a cross complaint soon after, seeking custody of the couple’s minor child (they also share three adult children) and support. The case is ongoing.
In January of this year, Palmer’s divorce attorneys revealed her early release date in a motion to postpone a scheduled status conference, so that she could participate. They noted that their client would be released on or before March 1.
Attorneys for Palmer didn’t return messages left by The Daily Beast.
Banevicius said that to qualify for supervised release, an inmate must put together paperwork for the corrections department’s community release unit. They must also arrange an inspection of the home where they’ll stay for the rest of their sentence.
“The reason we do parole and community release is that it’s been proven statistically that for inmates, the chance of recidivism is reduced when they have a period of supervised release prior to the end of their sentence versus just keeping them incarcerated,” Banevicius said, adding that Palmer’s maximum release date is August 20.
“It’s on or about [Aug. 20] assuming that she doesn’t get rearrested, that she doesn’t violate her conditions,” he said.
In general, he added, the rules an inmate on release must follow include abstaining from drugs and alcohol and not leaving the state unless receiving permission to do so.
“Being a law abiding citizen,” he said.
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