Madras police officer arrested for sex abuse
Following an investigation, a former Madras and Warm Springs police officer has been arrested and charged with attempted sexual abuse of a minor.
John Joseph "J.J." Wallace Jr., 33, was taken into custody March 1, and arraigned that same day in the U.S. District Court in Portland on charges of attempted sexual abuse of a minor and three counts of abusive sexual contact with a child, according to Kevin Sonoff, public affairs officer with the U.S. Attorney's Office, in Portland.
Wallace, who is represented by Thomas Price, of the Oregon Federal Public Defenders' Office, pleaded not guilty to the charges. Paul Maloney, an assistant U.S. attorney, is prosecuting the case.
Also on March 1, U.S. Magistrate Judge John V. Acosta granted Wallace a conditional release that includes GPS monitoring and orders that he avoid all contact with the victim and/or the victim's family.
A federal grand jury handed down the indictment on Feb. 28, alleging that on Jan. 26, Wallace "did intentionally attempt to engage in a sexual act" with a Native American female, "who had attained the age of 12 years but not attained the age of 16 years."
The charge of attempted sexual abuse of a minor is a felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison; the three charges of abusive sexual contact with a child, also felonies, are each punishable by up to two years in prison.
Two counts of abusive sexual contact are alleged to have occurred between June 1, 2016, and Jan. 1, 2018, and the other, on Jan. 26.
The victim, who was not identified, is a minor tribal member known to the defendant. The incidents, which are alleged to have occurred on the Warm Springs Reservation, are being investigated by the U.S. Attorney's Office.
At the time of his arrest on March 1, Wallace had been employed by the Madras Police Department for three years.
"He had been on administrative leave since Jan. 26, 2018," said Police Chief Tanner Stanfill. "There was an external investigation, followed by an internal investigation, followed by termination." Wallace's employment was terminated on April 24.
Stanfill said that the Madras Police Department cooperated with the investigation by an outside federal agency. "All other questions need to be addressed to the U.S. Attorney's Office."
A 2003 graduate of Madras High School, Wallace had been a volunteer reserve police officer for the city from May 2005 to July 2009. In 2009, he was hired as a certified police officer for the Warm Springs Police Department.
On March 16, 2015, he was sworn in as an officer with the Madras Police Department.
A four-day jury trial, which was originally scheduled to start on May 1, was set over to Aug. 14, Sonoff noted.