"I crushed a dude's eye socket from repeatedly punching him in it, then I charged him with menacing and harassment," bragged Oregon jail guard David B. Thompson in one of more than 1,700 internet gaming site postings in eight months while at work in 2007. "He took a plea to get away from me. He shoulda picked somebody else to try to fight."
"Seeing someone get Tasered is second only to pulling the trigger," Thompson said in another posting. "That is money – puts a smile on your face."
As we've previously reported, however, Thompson, who had been a guard at the Multnomah County Detention Center (MCDC) since 1998, was merely suspended without pay for 11 days rather than terminated or prosecuted for misuse of jail computers or excessive force –despite more than 40 known use-of-force incidents since 2002. (PLN, Mar. 2009, p. 25).
The suspension did little to get Thompson's attention. He faced complaints for injuring a male prisoner in March 2009; for an undocumented use of force on a female prisoner in September 2010; and an inappropriate conversation with another female prisoner in November 2011. In February 2010, Thompson's use of force was reviewed to determine if it complied with Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) policy. Apparently it did.
While beating MCDC prisoners is seemingly okay, falling in love with them appears to cross the line, in the eyes of Thompson's co-workers. When he confided in two other guards that he intended to divorce his wife to pursue a relationship with an exotic dancer shortly after her release from the jail, they ratted him out.
Thompson also sent an email to a captain, confirming that he was in a relationship with a former prisoner but claimed that he did not know if she was still on parole; a fact that his wife's divorce attorney later exposed. A formal investigation began in February, 2012, according to Chief Deputy Mike Shults.
The prisoner at the center of the scandal was Melissa Crawn, 31, who was in MCDC custody from August to December 2011, for violating her parole on a 2008 identity theft conviction. It was her fifth 2011 MCDC commitment, for parole violations and an intoxicated driving conviction.
On March 20, 2012, investigators confirmed that Crawn and Thompson were living together. The next day, Thompson was placed on administrative leave when investigators pulled him over and found Crawn in the passenger seat.
In separate interviews, Thompson and Crawn both admitted that they began a personal relationship while she was an MCDC prisoner. Crawn told investigators that she thought Thompson was attractive, listened well and treated her better than other guards did. He even helped her file a harassment complaint against another male guard.
Just a week after her December 2011 release, Crawn called Thompson at work. They continued their relationship by telephone until Thompson went to visit her in January 2012.
Thompson left his wife and child for Crawn, who is still legally married but separated from the father of her children.
"I wonder if it's because he was in this relationship with her for so long and it was boring and I'm a little bit crazier," Crawn surmised in response to investigator questions about why Thompson left his wife and child for her. After all, she is "that foul-mouthed, tatted up country girl your momma warned you about," according to her Facebook page.
Crawn told investigators that her mother was a prison guard at the Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution, when she met and eventually married Crawn's father, who was a prisoner there.
The internal investigation found no evidence that Thompson and Crawn were intimate while she was in custody, said Lt. Mark Matsushima. Their relationship did, however, violate agency policy because it became physical after her release, according to Shults.
Thompson finally resigned in June, 2012. "We had to make sure we had all the facts before we took any definitive action," said Shults. "But there's no mistaking it, this is a case of extremely bad judgment that happened here."
The Multnomah County District Attorney's Office is investigating possible computer crimes related to Thompson's use of the state's Law Enforcement Data System (LEDS) to look Crawn up for personal reasons after her release.
Meanwhile, Crawn was sentenced to serve 15-days in the Clackamas County Jail for driving while intoxicated and with a suspended license, after plowing into a fire hydrant in July 2011; just days after her release from MCDC for a March 2011 driving while intoxicated conviction.
Thompson attended Crawn's Clackamas County sentencing and the two held hands and kissed in court. Thompson left the courtroom, however, before Crawn was handcuffed and taken into custody.
Source: The Oregonian, www.kptv.com, Portland Tribune
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