Women speak out against deputy
A woman's allegation that a Multnomah County Sheriff's Deputy raped her turned into a wide-ranging investigation of whether he'd victimized others or abused his position to have on-duty sex in his workplace, the Multnomah Circuit County courthouse in downtown Portland.
As investigators contacted Deputy Dwight Richey's ex-girlfriends, ex-wives and co-workers, other women accused Richey of predatory behavior, sexual assault or other unlawful behavior, according to a 113-page report released last week.
The Richey investigation shows how one allegation can lead to another in sexual assault cases.
It also shows how one person defining consent as another person's failure to say "no" can be criminally inaccurate.
Charged with multiple counts of sex abuse in July 2018, Richey pleaded not guilty. But he resigned his post in October, then agreed to a negotiated lesser charge.
Last month he pleaded no contest to coercion, and a judge sentenced him to three years probation.
Began with dog-sitting
On May 11, 2017, Richey showed up at the house of his childhood friend and former roommate, Jon Burgess. Burgess, a Portland firefighter who also was the ex-boyfriend to a woman dubbed "Emily" — not her real name — in the initial news report by KATU.
Burgess had asked Emily to dog-sit while he was away.
Richey claimed he didn't realize Emily would be there, though the firefighter later told police Richey was fully aware she was staying there alone.
Richey invited himself in to watch a movie with her, she told police. She let him give her a neck rub, after which he kissed her. She at first said no, but then, after he told her Burgess had slept around, she became enraged and kissed Richey back.
The two ended up naked on the couch and he took it to another level, she later told police. Emily said she reacted in shock, then realized that Richey was not wearing a condom, and had sex with, "a million people at the county," she told police, referring to his reputation.
After 10 seconds she began crying, told Richey it was "wrong," and told him "one of the reasons she didn't want to continue was that they didn't have a condom."
Eventually, Richey asked her to "help him" and rubbed her hand on him until he was done.
She "did not say anything or pull her hand away, but told me she did not want that to be done," according to the subsequent report taken by police.
Amy Beard, executive director of the Oregon Sexual Assault Resource Center, said she can't comment on specific cases. Speaking generally, she said sexual assault often looks nothing like it is portrayed in movies.
Rather, it often is about someone manipulating and preying upon a vulnerable person. For perpetrators, overcoming resistance and protests can be a way of "asserting power and control," she said.
Beard said there are many reasons why someone might not verbalize the word "no" in response to a sexual advance, and she said a failure to understand that often leads victims to inappopriately feeling guilt or blame.
Using force to have sex with someone is considered rape. But having sex with someone who does not explicitly consent also is a crime, called second-degree sex abuse.
That's the crime Richey was charged with.
On May 29 Emily called the Washington County Sheriff's Office and said Richey had raped her.
She said she believed there were other potential victims, and named one.
She also said Richey bragged of having sex inside the courthouse — which, if true, could be a crime known as "official misconduct."
Detectives Robert Rook-huyzen and Chuck Anderson took over the case. They persuaded Emily, and later Burgess, her firefighter ex-boyfriend, to call Richey and record it, in an attempt to get him to confess.
Emily told Richey she kept telling him "no" and cried twice. He said he didn't recall it that way, that they both were emotional and had reservations since Burgess was his friend. If she had not been OK with the sex, he asked, why did she then go upstairs to get a condom, after realizing he wasn't wearing one?
Richey said the reason the sex stopped was because Emily said "I know where the condoms are." Then the two thought better of it. Richey claimed Emily cried not because he forced her to have sex, but because of her relationship with Burgess, Richey's good friend.
Other witnesses came forward:
• On June 26, 2017, a court clerk told investigators that while dating Richey, she performed oral sex on him inside her office while he was on duty and in uniform. He would push her head down, and "sometimes she was OK with it, but other times she was confused." The police report blacks out several paragraphs of her interview, labeling them "details of sex abuse."
• On June 28, another county employee said she had sex with Richey on her lunch break, and he had been in uniform and "on call and had an earpiece in his ear."
• On Oct. 19, a county case manager told detectives she dated Richey, and once he attempted to kiss and feel her in the courthouse while she repeatedly told him no.
• On Dec. 4, a retired deputy said the two were drinking at a bar, after which she offered Richey a ride to his car. Inside her car he advanced on her sexually despite her protestations. He was so angry and forceful, she said, that "she didn't think she could fight him off." Out of desperation, she performed oral sex on him, she said.
Beard, of the Sexual Assault Resource Center, said society's misunderstanding of the nature of sexual assault and consent discourages victims from coming forward. Creating a "culture of consent," she said, should mean that sex follows a "freely given, noncoerced, sober, enthusiastic 'yes.'"
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.