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Oregon Sheriff Sentenced to Jail/Sex-Offender Registration

On August 28, 2007, the former sheriff of Curry County Oregon, was sentenced to one year in jail and ordered to register as a sex offender, for groping three female county employees.

Mark Metcalf spent nearly 25 years in law enforcement. He was appointed Curry County Sheriff in 2003, then elected to the position by voters in 2004.

In August 2006, Kim Wood, a Curry County sheriff civil deputy reported that Metcalf sexually harassed her. A state investigation was launched, during which two other employees??Deputy Tax Collector Sheryl Luzmoor, and Legal assistant Colleen Wallace??brought additional accusations against Metcalf.

In June 2007, voters recalled Metcalf by a margin of 2-to-1. He was then tried criminally on the women?s allegations, in neighboring Coos County. During the trial, at Metcalf?s request, the women testified that he rubbed his body against theirs, touched their breasts, and slipped his hand beneath their clothing. Metcalf denied Wood?s accusations and claimed that his conduct with the other women was consensual.

A six-member jury convicted Metcalf of eleven misdemeanors: four counts of third-degree sexual harassment, four counts of harassment, and three counts of first-degree official misconduct.

?There was simply no truth to the assertion by the defense that any of this conduct was consensual,? said Darin Tweedt, an Assistant Oregon Attorney General brought in to prosecute the case. ?He was a powerful person in the community, and none of these victims knew how to protect themselves form him.?

?You chose your power as sheriff to intimidate, violate, lie and harm,? wrote Wood in a letter read during Metcalf?s August 28, 2007 sentencing. ?You got enjoyment from your sick games. I also know that Sheryl, Colleen and I are not the only women you violated over the years. These other women were too afraid to come forward. So this is the only justice they will ever get.

Metcalf faced a maximum of eleven years in custody. Coos County Circuit Court Judge Richard Barron elected, instead, to sentence him to 360 days in jail and a three-year term of probation. He also ordered Metcalf to register as a sex offender, prohibited him from supervising female employees or contacting the victims, and ordered him to give 24-hour notice before going to the Curry County Courthouse. Following sentencing, Metcalf was taken into custody.

?I?m very pleased with the sentence,? said Tweedt. ?I think the judge did the right thing and accurately reflected the criminal conduct committed.?
Metcalf?s former colleagues weren?t quite so pleased. ?Shock, disappointment, and disgust are the three words that sum it up,? said Dave Burright, executive director of the Oregon State Sheriff?s Association. ?He betrayed not only his own staff, but the people of the county and the badge he wore.?

Source: The Oregonian

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