Former CHS student Chayse Teach pleaded guilty to three counts of sexual abuse of two victims under age 14

PAMPLIN PHOTO: KRISTEN WOHLERS - Chayse Teach, 18, of Colton, pleaded guilty in two cases of sexual abuse and was sentenced to 10 years in prison on Wednesday, Sept. 26.

It has been more than nine months since former Colton High School student Chayse Teach, 18, was arrested on eight counts of sexual abuse. Since then, another victim has come forward, creating a second criminal case against Teach. After a drawn-out negotiation process, Teach finally pleaded guilty in both cases, and was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

On Wednesday, Sept. 26, it was revealed in Clackamas County Court that Teach had been sexually abusing a young relative since the victim was approximately five years old, and it had gone on for years. District Attorney Lewis Burkhart revealed that Teach is approximately six years older than the victim, which means he was just 11 years old when he began abusing.

The official charges concern instances of abuse over the course of nearly three years between 2014 and 2017, when the victim was 8, 9 and 10 and Teach was 14 and up.

When Teach left home to attend military camp, the victim came forward about the abuse.

The family then reported the abuse to Canby Police. At that time, Teach flew home from military school, came to police and fully confessed to the crimes.

According to Burkhart, the abuse in this case involves sexual touching and intercourse.

When attorneys were inching close to a resolution, a second victim, who is a family friend, came forward.

"The facts were remarkably similar," Burkhart said in court. "She was about the same age, eight or nine; but that abuse lasted for a couple of months, whereas the [first] case, that lasted for years."

COURTESY PHOTO: CCSO - Teach was arrested on Dec. 11, 2017.In both cases, Teach also was a minor, which is partly was caused delay in reaching a resolution, Teach's Attorney Jon Henricksen said. Teach had wanted Henricksen to research the possibility of Teach being sentenced as a minor, even though he was charged when he was an adult. Henricksen found that was not a possibility, and Teach finally conceded just minutes before court Sept. 26, according to Burkhart.

In accepting the resolution, Teach prevented both victims from having to endure a lengthy trial and prevented the second victim from having to dictate details of the abuse before a grand jury.

Judge Katherine E. Weber followed the sentencing recommendations that both attorneys and Teach had agreed upon. She found Teach guilty of two counts of sexual abuse in the first degree on the first case and one count of sexual abuse in the first degree on the second case. In total, she sentenced Teach to 10 years in prison and 45 months post-prison supervision, and required him to register as a sex offender.

"Sir, what you did was incredibly…wrong, and you know that," Weber said to Teach after sentencing. "The thing that I will commend you for is when interviewed, you were honest with law enforcement and you have taken responsibility."

Weber also took a moment to address the first victim's family, who were present in court.

"As judges in these types of cases, we're frequently looked to to provide healing words, to provide closure," Weber said. "And on this kind of a case, that's very difficult because getting to a point of closure on this kind of a case is going to be impossible for your daughter. What's going to be possible for your daughter is her to get to a place in herself, surrounded by your love and your support and your guidance and counseling and love and life, that she is going to be able to progress through this and to be a stronger, wonderful young woman.

"For her to come forward and disclose this is commendable for her," Weber continued, "and I'm very glad again that this was able to resolve in this fashion and avoid her having to go through trial."

The second victim's family was not present in court, but asked Burkhart to relay some comments.

"They would like the defendant to know they are happy he is acknowledging what he did and taking responsibility for it," Burkhart said. "They do not wish him any ill will, and they hope this 10-year sentence and subsequent treatment will get him the help he needs."

After the hearing adjourned, members of the first victim's family said that even the 10-year sentence was not enough.

"This hurts my heart on a whole different level," Stacy Teach said, "not just that he has done this, but [the victim] loves him, still loves him. She has said, 'I just wanted it to stop, I didn't want him to go away.' "

Family members allege that there are more known victims. They said there are victims in Canby, Molalla and Colton. Teach's sister, Chelsea St. Clair, worries there may be victims they don't know about who may have gone to school in Colton with them.

Burkhart revealed that a third victim did come forward, but the evidence was insufficient to prove that case.

"If there are [more victims], we hope they come forward and contact the police," Burkhart said after the hearing. "But without them doing that, there's nothing we can do."

Regarding the outcome of this case, Burkhart noted that he appreciated and would echo the comments Judge Weber made to the family.

"You know what he did was horrible, but he did it when he was underage," Burkhart said. "He was young. So, it's a delicate balance to find an appropriate punishment, which 10 years is a long time. To his credit, he flew back on his own, went to the police, and fully confessed on that first case, which he didn't have to do.

"I feel terrible for these two girls," Burkhart added. "They were both very strong in coming forward, and I'm thankful that he finally stepped up to the plate and accepted responsibility."

Through tears and sadness over the possibility that her own daughter may never get to know her uncle, even then St. Clair pointed to her brother's potential.

"I know my brother," St. Clair said. "He can do anything, and if he puts his mind to it, he can change."

Kristen Wohlers
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