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Allegations against former Columbia County undersheriff spanned at least five years

COLUMBIA COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE - Andy MoyerThe state committee that evaluates law enforcement conduct has voted to bar a former Columbia County undersheriff from future law enforcement employment in Oregon.

Andy Moyer resigned in 2018 amid allegations he had sexually harassed coworkers, after reaching a settlement agreement.

Over multiple years, Moyer repeatedly sent sexually explicit images to reserve deputies and other employees with the Columbia County Sheriff's Office, a timeline from the Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards and Training showed.

Moyer "would consistently follow up the sending of the images with another text claiming that he made a mistake and sent the picture to the wrong person," a state staff report stated.

The report noted that allegations of Moyer's sexual harassment dated back to 2012, six years before he resigned from the Sheriff's Office.

In 2017, Moyer had been demoted from undersheriff to sergeant after an investigation. The investigation included allegations that in addition to sending unsolicited nude photographs, Moyer had watched pornography while sharing a hotel room with another Sheriff's Office employee at a training conference, made attempts to peek at coworkers' bodies while they used the restroom, and made sexually inappropriate jokes about coworkers in front of groups.

That investigation was reopened in 2018, before Moyer resigned.

Bradley Robertson, a member of the Oregon police policy committee and a detective with the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office, noted Moyer's high rank within the Columbia County Sheriff's Office.

"This just wasn't a simple deputy or line officer, this is the undersheriff of this agency," Robertson said. "I think it's significantly reprehensible that (this) person was allowed to maintain that level of supervision for as long as it was without this stuff coming forward sooner."

"As leaders of an organization, you set culture," added Prineville Police Chief Dale Cummins, another member of the committee. "And this is abhorrent behavior to set a culture that allows this type of activity to continue over a long time and set the standard for the rest of the people who work at that organization."

Law enforcement officers can choose to address the police policy committee, which falls under the umbrella of the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training, when they are facing disciplinary action. Moyer did not appear at the meeting and could not be reached for comment.

Moyer's resignation came after Columbia County paid out a $55,000 settlement to a former volunteer reserve deputy who said she received sexually explicit text messages from Moyer and faced retaliation after reporting the messages.

Kellie Smith, the former reserve deputy, declined to comment on the allegations against Moyer, but she said she supports law enforcement officers.

"Most are peacekeepers to their core, and they only want to help those in need. The systems of support like inadequate HR departments and hiring practices can be detrimental to departments," Smith said last week.

Smith, who is a school board member in the St. Helens School District, added that Columbia County Sheriff Brian Pixley "is a good man and doing a good job."

Pixley was elected sheriff in November 2018, and took office at the beginning of 2019. He was a lieutenant with the Sheriff's Office prior to winning elected office.

Jeff Dickerson was sheriff for more than a decade. He retired in June 2018, six months before his term was scheduled to end. Lt. Steve Salle served as acting sheriff after Dickerson retired until Pixley took office.

The undersheriff position was the second-in-command in county law enforcement, but the county replaced the position with that of chief deputy last year.

The Board on Public Safety Standards, which sets rules for the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training and reviews individual cases, will consider the policy committee's decision to permanently revoke Moyer's certification at its next meeting.

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