A 45-year-old Portland man arrested in Gresham was convicted of sexually abusing a child Friday, Aug. 30, after a five day trial in Multnomah County Circuit Court.
Jessie Ezell was convicted of two counts of first-degree sodomy and four counts of first-degree sexual abuse. He was acquitted of one count of first-degree rape and one count of first-degree sexual abuse.
The investigation into Ezell began in February 2017 when the Oregon Department of Human Services received a child abuse tip. The caller expressed concerns about the welfare of a child victim because she was reportedly being exposed to abuse and neglect.
During the investigation, DHS discovered Ezell was using methamphetamine, likely contributing to the sexual abuse of the child victim. The young girl was evaluated at CARES Northwest on two occasions — once in 2017 and again the following year — and she disclosed the sexual abuse during the 2018 evaluation.
"Jessie Ezell was supposed to be someone this child could trust," said Multnomah County Deputy District Attorney Amber Kinney, who litigated the case. "Instead, he targeted and sexually abused her because of her age and her vulnerability. She endured repeated abuse and was trapped in a cycle of exploitation."
Kinney said because of the girl's courage to come forward and disclose her story, she is now "safe and receiving intensive trauma-informed care and therapy."
Ezell was arrested on a warrant issued by a Multnomah County grand jury on Sept. 21, 2018, after law enforcement found him in Gresham. His sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 8.
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