No charges forthcoming against reserve deputy
Criminal charges will not be filed against a suspended Columbia County Sheriff's Office reserve deputy following an Oregon State Police investigation into whether the officer coerced a former Columbia 911 Communications District executive director.
Tyler Miller, 33, a Scappoose resident who ran for the Columbia 911 Communications District board of directors in May, is not being charged after a months-long review of an OSP investigative report was completed by the Clackamas County District Attorney's Office last week.
"With the facts we had, the state had insufficient evidence
to prosecute a crime beyond a reasonable doubt," said Deputy District Attorney Bryan Cen-
Following that review, however, an OSP official stated the investigation focused on Miller remains active. It is up to OSP whether or not to close the case, Censoni explained.
The DA's office received and reviewed a "thorough and voluminous report" that was more than 100 pages long from OSP in June, Censoni said, and has spent the past three months reviewing the document and numerous statutes to determine if charges — including charges for coercion, a Class C felony — should be filed.
The Clackamas County District Attorney's Office was asked to review the OSP investigation for possible criminal charges against Miller after Stephen Atchison, the longtime Columbia County district attorney, retired May 1, leaving a vacancy in the Columbia County justice system.
In May, Columbia County Sheriff Jeff Dickerson suspended Miller from reserve deputy status after an internal investigation conducted by the communication district's law firm, Bullard Law, alleged Miller threatened to expose the district's then-executive director, Steve Watson, for sexual harassment in exchange for compensation or greater responsibility within the communications district.
Miller had worked as a subcontractor for a radio communications project with Columbia 911 Communications since 2015, but has had an ongoing interest in working with the district since he was in high school.
The OSP investigation was to determine Miller's motivation in trying to expose sexual harassment claims against Watson, which Miller was purported to have known about for more than a year.
Miller was running for a
seat on the 911 communication district's board against longtime incumbent Rob Anderson when information about the internal investigation surfaced. Miller lost the special election and has said he believed the investigation was conducted to influence the election.
Miller had served as a volunteer deputy with the Columbia County Sheriff's Office since 2011 until he was suspended in April, just before ballots were mailed out.
Miller has retained William Gary and Aaron Landau, two Eugene-based lawyers, as legal counsel, and said he is pursuing legal options with the intent to file civil litigation and election law violations against the communication district's board.
A tort notice from the Bend law office of Busse and Hunt was filed against Columbia
911 Communications District and Watson in May. As of Thursday, Aug. 17, a complaint on the matter had not been filed in Columbia County Circuit Court.
Dickerson declined comment on the case and would not verify Miller's current status with the Columbia County Sheriff's Office.