Parole board psychologist admits he made up story

Frank Colistro had told KOIN 6 News he was shot during two different hostage negotiation operations

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN 6) — Frank Colistro, an influential Portland psychologist, told KOIN 6 News he was shot twice in the line of duty.

He now admits that was a lie.

Frank Colistro, an influential Portland psychologist, told KOIN 6 News he was shot twice in the line of duty, but now admits that was a lie, July 14, 2014. (KOIN 6)
Frank Colistro, an influential Portland psychologist, told KOIN 6 News he was shot twice in the line of duty, but now admits that was a lie, July 14, 2014. (KOIN 6)

Colistro is one of only five psychologists the Oregon Parole Board uses to evaluate inmates to help determine if they’re ready to be released from prison. He’s weighed in on countless cases, including very high-profile murders and rapes.

He’s recognizable from his many appearances in TV news stories.

In April, KOIN 6 News interviewed Colistro about the likely psychological make-up of the soldier who went on a deadly shooting spree at Fort Hood, Texas, after suffering post-traumatic stress disorder.

KOIN 6 News also asked him to re-tell a story he once told off-camera about the time he was shot.

“Which time?” he said. He then said he’d been shot twice.

“Got the cellphone shot out of my hand. That hurt. Now, I still have to buy large and extra large pairs of gloves because it never totally healed right,” Colistro said. “Shot in the butt. Yeah, it’s kind of an occupational hazard.”

He explained he was shot on two different occasions while a member of hostage negotiation teams. Colistro claimed he was trying to talk armed men out of their homes.

KOIN 6 News asked if he’d been shot in Portland and how long it took to heal.

“I’ve been really lucky,” Colistro said. “In fact the butt one was an AK, so it was a steel-penetrating bullet. You know if you’re gonna get shot, that’s what you want to get shot with, because they don’t even slow down. If they don’t hit anything vital, just in and out. Boom. And it cauterized the wound. I didn’t even have to go to the hospital, I went home.”

Colistro’s story didn’t seem to make sense.

Getting shot by an AK-47 would certainly require a trip to the hospital, law enforcement officials told KOIN 6 News.

Police and lawyers told KOIN 6 News they certainly would have heard if Colistro had been shot during a police standoff. The Oregon State Police told KOIN 6 News, “A search of our files cannot confirm this case.”

His job

Richard Gillmore, the "Jogger Rapist," in an undated photo. (KOIN 6 News, file)
Richard Gillmore, the “Jogger Rapist,” in an undated photo. (KOIN 6 News, file)

Colistro is under contract to evaluate inmates to tell the parole board whether they are still a danger to society.

One of the most high-profile inmates Colistro evaluated is Richard Gillmore, known as the Jogger Rapist for his nine serial attacks on women in Portland and Gresham.

Court documents revealed Colistro once advised the parole board, “Mr. Gillmore is no longer a danger to the health and safety of others,” after previously saying Gillmore was a danger.

The interview

After running into dead ends trying to confirm his story, KOIN 6 News interviewed Colistro again.

Asked about the shooting incidents, Colistro said at first he didn’t want to get into it, that the shootings happened long ago and far away.

But pressed on the issue, Colistro admitted the stories weren’t true.

“I guess I have a big ego,” he said. “I guess when I’m off the air, when I’m casual, I embellish my life.”

Colistro wanted to explain, on-the-record, that his story telling is merely story telling, and wasn’t meant for a wide audience.

KOIN 6 News reminded him he first told the story off-camera about two years ago, and then the same story a few months ago.

Asked if he told that story to many people, Colistro said, “Again, not on the record. When we’re casually talking, could be.”

When asked if this hurts his credibility, Colistro said, “No.”

“Again, I’m differentiating between what we’re doing right now, which is a formal thing. I’m speaking to you as a professional, a licensed professional, versus are the three of us going to go out for lunch afterwards,” he said. “It’s a different context.”

How he’d diagnose himself

Colistro told KOIN 6 News he’s never told the stories of being shot while he was in a professional setting, such as a conference. And, he said the most important point is that he’s never lied under oath.

He was asked if he would diagnose himself with a character disorder.

“I would diagnose myself as an average guy who does what average guys do. I’m not saying it’s necessarily OK, but it is human nature.”

He also said he believes he is still fit to have a contract with the Oregon Parole Board to evaluate inmates because, he said, “I can differentiate between casual conversation among people not in a professional setting.”

Meanwhile, the parole board is investigating Colistro’s actions.

The Executive Director of the Oregon Parole Board, Brenda Carney, told KOIN 6 News, “We will have to review the information and do some investigation on our own.”

She added, “I can’t give you any indication what we would do at this point.”

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