In 2006, the Columbia County Sheriff’s Department, in St. Helens, Oregon, hired John Lawrence Hinkle, 48, as a full-time sheriff’s deputy, said Sheriff Jeff Dickerson. He resigned in 2010, however, following an internal investigation into his work performance.
While serving as a sheriff’s deputy, Hinkle was also repeatedly molesting a female family member, said Columbia County District Attorney Steve Atchison.
Hinkle was arrested on May 6, 2011, after being charged with more than 30 sex crimes. The majority of those charges were dismissed, however, when Hinkle pleaded guilty on March 6, 2012, to attempted rape, attempted sodomy, incest and sexual abuse in the first degree. The sexual abuse conviction carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 70 months in prison with no early release eligibility. Hinkle must also register as a sex offender after his release, have no contact with the victim and serve a 10-year post-prison supervision term.
"He was in a position of trust when this happened," Atchison noted, arguing for a longer sentence because Hinkle committed the crimes while serving as a deputy sheriff.
The victim, who is now an adult, approved of the agreement. "She really preferred not to go to trial," said Atchison. "The victim was satisfied with the plea, and we're happy that she got what she felt was just."
Source: The Oregonian
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