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Oregon Cop Guilty of Sexting a Minor

On July 22, 2011, former Salem, Oregon police Officer Raul "Rico" Allen Ramirez, 36, pleaded guilty to official misconduct for sending sexual text messages to an underage female police cadet.

In February 2011, the cadet emailed Ramirez, requesting to ride along with him on patrol. Ramirez gave her his personal cellphone number and began having inappropriate text message conversations with her, according to police reports.

"He started saying he wanted to flirt with her," wrote Detective Kristina Manley. In at least two text messages, Ramirez asked her to sneak out of the house and come see him at the police station. In others, he asked when she would turn eighteen.

Ramirez sent the text messages between February 21, 2011 and March 15, 2011. Some were sent during work hours. Ramirez apparently tricked a co-worker whose name has been redacted from reports, into sending him a photograph of the girl, according to Manley.

The girl reported the conduct to a supervisor because the conversations were "creepy." She told detectives that "she thinks his intent, his goal, was to do something sexual to her," and she was afraid he would show up at her house and rape her. Fortunately, she reported the matter before Ramirez's conduct became physical, according to investigators.

Internal Affairs Sgt. Pat Garrett, conducted an investigation which included recording a telephone conversation between Ramirez and the girl. Evidence of criminal activity was found during the call and the Oregon State Police (OSP) were called in.

"During the pretext phone call, Officer Ramirez was saying in a perfect fantasy world she would ask him to touch her and he would do that" during a ride-along, according to police reports.

OSP Detectives asked the girl to make a second recorded telephone call to Ramirez. During that call, Ramirez was more explicit and asked the girl to sneak out.

OSP Detectives questioned Ramirez the next day. He admitted to trying to schedule a ride-along with the girl and to flirting with her.

"Ramirez said he had no intention of ever following through with a physical relationship," according to investigators. While he admitted to asking her to sneak out and meet him, Ramirez claimed he would have been "freaked out" if she had actually done so.

Ramirez – who had been a police officer for 14 years – claimed that he didn't think it was wrong or illegal to have a sexually explicit conversation with a minor. "If I knew what I was doing . . . was illegal I would not have let it go that far," claimed Ramirez.

"It was in the back of his mind for when she turns (redacted) but he was not going to jail over sex," wrote detectives.

Ramirez, who has a wife and daughter, resigned in April 2011. Lane County was asked to prosecute, to avoid any conflict for the Marion County District Attorney's Office in prosecuting Ramirez, who is the son of former Marion County Sheriff Raul Ramirez.

On July 22, 2011, Ramirez pleaded guilty to official misconduct and was
sentenced to a 24 month term of probation, 80 hours of community service and a $1,000
fine. He must also forfeit his law enforcement certification, ending his career. He won't have to register as a sex offender because he was not convicted of a sex offense.

"He has taken responsibility and is going to move on to the next phase of his life," said Ramirez's attorney Scott Howell. "I think it's a fair resolution. I think both sides will move on from this and continue their lives in the course they want to."

Police officials are calling the matter an isolated incident. However, another cadet had also complained to supervisors about similar text messages from Ramirez. That complaint did not meet the criteria for a criminal investigation, according to police reports.

"We take what we do in the police department very seriously, and when inappropriate behavior is brought to our attention, we do everything we can to respond to it," said Salem Police Chief Jerry Moore. "I think most people would agree that that's exactly what we did. Once we felt there were issues involving criminal activity, the officer didn't work another day."

Moore did not know how many cadets knew what happened. "We will do what we need to do to notify the cadets to make sure they're aware of it, and make sure their parents are aware of it," he said.

Moore did not believe any procedural changes needed to occur. "I think, quite frankly, the training our cadet received in this case helped her identify that this was inappropriate," said Moore. "She did what she needed to do, and we took care of it. . . . This young lady was very brave and very professional in bringing this to us and then cooperating with the investigators."

Sources: Statesman Journal

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