Michael Mallery pleads not guilty pending March 4 trial

A top Pacific University official has been indicted and arraigned on sex abuse charges in a case Washington County following an eight-month investigation into allegations he abused two underage family members.

Michael Mallery, vice president for finance and administration at Pacific University, pleaded not-guilty during his arraignment Jan. 22 on seven counts of Sex Abuse 1 in the Hillsboro courtroom of Judge Eric E. Butterfield.

During a release hearing last Friday, Jan. 24, Butterfield dropped the bail amount for Mallery from $1.75 million to $500,000. Mallery posted 10 percent of his bail, the required amount, and left the Washington County Jail under a "conditional release agreement" the same day, court officials said.

At the 30-second arraignment last week, Mallery, 48, stood quietly behind a glass window in the Washington County Law Enforcement Center, dressed in a pink T-shirt and an orange jumpsuit. Flanked by others awaiting arraignment, he appeared without an attorney but has retained Richard D. Cohen of Cohen & Coit law firm in Clackamas.

Mallery is accused in a case that was referred to sheriff's detectives by the state Department of Human Services last May following a report that an 11-year-old family member of Mallery’s said she had been inappropriately touched by him. During the investigation, a previous, similar allegation from another family member in 2010, who is now 15 years old, was discovered, authorities said.

A Washington County grand jury indicted Mallery on the seven counts. His trial is set to begin March 4. Cohen did not return repeated calls from the News-Times. Mallery, who is married and has two children, lives in Portland.

The allegations create an awkward situation at Pacific, where Mallery is well-liked by colleagues and community members. "I do not know of any other Pacific University employees, including administrators and faculty, who have been accused of or arrested for sexual abuse," said university Media Director Joe Lang.

Pacific President Lesley Hallick sent an email to faculty and staff Jan. 22 informing them of Mallery's arrest and her approval of his request for a personal leave of absence.

"Mike voluntarily turned himself into the Washington County Sheriff's Office following a grand jury indictment," Hallick wrote. "We are supportive of Mike as he receives his due process in these legal proceedings. Please note that these accusations are not associated with Pacific University."

Hallick said Pacific's board of trustees chairwoman, Mindy Cameron, notified other board members and emeriti trustees of Mallery's indictment on Jan. 21.

Hallick also noted that reports on all Mallery's in-progress projects — including construction of a new residence hall in Forest Grove and a third health professions building in Hillsboro — would be forwarded to her "for the time being," adding that "the university is moving forward with all of the important work that is under way.

"This includes new programs, new facilities and so much more," Hallick wrote. "We appreciate your continued focus on our mission and our goals."

Hallick directed staff and faculty to send all media inquiries about the Mallery situation to Lang and asked employees "not to speculate on what might happen."

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