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Prosecutors in Washington County say Michael William Hern abused more than half a dozen girls over more than 20 years.

COURTESY PHOTO: WASHINGTON COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE - Michael William HernA man accused of sexually abusing more than half a dozen in Washington and Yamhill counties has been sentenced to 30 years in prison after pleading guilty to several felony charges this week.

Michael William Hern of Amity admitted to first-degree rape, sexual abuse and unlawful sexual penetration, pleading guilty to one rape charge, two sexual abuse charges and two unlawful penetration charges on Tuesday, June 9, court records show.

Washington County Circuit Judge Beth Roberts sentenced Hern to 30 years in prison.

Hern is expected to face further sentencing in Yamhill County Circuit Court, where he faces three charges of first-degree sexual abuse.

The Washington County District Attorney's Office says six of Hern's victims were in Washington County, with a seventh in Yamhill County.

In his guilty plea in Washington County Circuit Court, Hern acknowledged sexual contact with five children, at least three of whom were under 12 at the time.

The rape conviction stems from a period between 1995 and 2001, according to the plea document. Three of the other crimes were committed from 2001 to 2005, with the final charge to which Hern pleaded guilty being unlawful penetration between 2016 and 2018.

According to prosecutors, Hern was originally accused of abuse in 2005, some 15 years ago. However, at the time, Hern passed a polygraph test asserting his innocence, and no criminal charges were filed, the District Attorney's Office stated.

The investigation was reopened last year after a new victim came forward, the District Attorney's Office said. Detective Cheryl Crecelius of the Washington County Sheriff's Office led the investigation, and ultimately five others in Washington County alone reported that Hern abused them as children.

Detective Todd Steele of the Yamhill County Sheriff's Office also investigated Hern, leading to charges in Yamhill County.

In addition to the Yamhill County case, Hern is also the subject of a criminal investigation in Josephine County, according to court documents.

The case was prosecuted in Washington County Circuit Court by Deputy District Attorney Rayney Meisel.

In a statement, Meisel said Hern "engaged in a pattern and practice of befriending people with young daughters, gaining their trust and then gaining access to their children."

Meisel added, "His predatory behavior spans over two decades and only stopped when the world began to listen to the voices of these survivors, some of whom are now young women."

Investigators believe there may be additional victims who have not yet been identified. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Washington County Sheriff's Office at 503-629-0111.


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