On October 21, the heads of the Oregon State Hospital (OSH) and the Psychiatric Security Review Board (PSRB) today apologized to a victim, whose wife and 11-year-old daughter were killed by a mentally ill man, for not notifying him when the man escaped from OSH on Sept. 3. They also explained why he did not receive notice, outlined the steps they have taken to prevent similar incidents and pledged to seek funding for a computerized notification system.
The victim, Jon Benson, lost his wife and daughter in 2009 when Matthew Daniel Ingle’s car collided with theirs in Clackamas County while Ingle was experiencing schizophrenic delusions and under the influence of marijuana and anti-psychotic and anti-depressant drugs. With Benson’s approval, he was allowed to be found guilty but insane of two charges of Manslaughter in the Second Degree and a charge of Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants. He was committed to OSH and placed under the jurisdiction of the PSRB.
The trial judge also ordered that Benson was to notified if Ingle escaped. The Oregon Crime Victims Law Center, which represents Benson, filed a claim of violation of his rights to notice and to be treated with dignity and respect after the hospital and the PSRB failed not only to notify him of Ingle’s escape on Sept. 3, but to contact him when Ingle was apprehended on Sept. 20. Benson agreed to the meeting, in lieu of a public hearing on the claim, at OSU’s and the PSRB’s request.
At the meeting, OSU Superintendent Greg Roberts and PSRB Executive Director Mary Claire Buckley told Benson that the failure to notify him resulted from a change in computer systems at OSH.
“Years ago, we agreed that OSU would be responsible for notice for escapes from OSH,” Buckley said. “Their old computer system had a process for that. Then they changed computer systems, and that piece didn’t get switched over. They didn’t know it, and they didn’t know that they didn’t know it.”
Roberts said that as a result of this incident, OSH changed its system for notifying victims and “tightened up” its procedures for allowing patients like Ingle to be outside the institution. Ingle was on an approved walk with other patients and staff when he escaped to a car that was waiting for him. On Oct. 13, Ingle pled guilty to a charge of Escape in Marion County Circuit Court. His sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 16.
Buckley told Benson that she had scheduled a meeting, for early December, to determine the cost of the agencies becoming part of the online victim notification system, VINELink, that the Oregon Department of Corrections has used for years. She noted that Crime Victims United of Oregon – whose president, Steve Doell, serves on OCVLC’s board of directors – and others previously had urged that the system be used for convicted defendants who had been placed under her board’s jurisdiction but that the costs precluded it. She pledged to search for funding for the system after its cost is established in December.
The OCVLC will follow-up with Buckley after that meeting.
The OCVLC has asked a federal judge to look into an affidavit submitted by a man who was convicted of sodomizing his then-teenage daughter as part of his claim of "actual innocence." On Oct. 11, the OCVLC, which represents the victim, now 25, submitted an affidavit to U.S. District Judge Thomas Coffin of Eugene in which the victim reiterated her 2003 testimony that her father had sexually assaulted her.
OCVLC Legal Director Janine Robben also submitted a sworn declaration in which she questioning an affidavit that the victim had signed, in 2006, retracting the allegations. Robben, a former fraud prosecutor, told the Court that in her opinion, the 2006 affidavit was a "cut-and-paste" of a letter the victim had written onto a typed affidavit prepared by someone else.
The defendant, who was convicted in Polk County Circuit Court, currently is serving time at the Snake River Correctional Institution with an expected release date of 2019. He has filed a petition for post-conviction relief alleging, among other things, that his convictions should be vacated because he actually is innocent of the crimes of which he was convicted.
Thanks to the efforts of one victim and OCVLC pro bono attorney Olufunmike "Fumi" Owoso, Multnomah County has set aside its 1992 order that resulted in victims whose defendants had appealed their convictions not getting any restitution payments until the appeals were concluded.The county set aside the order, which the OCVLC maintained violated victims'
statutory right to restitution and constitutional right to "prompt restitution," shortly after the OCVLC called it to the county's attention on Sept. 30, 2011.
The victim in this case complained to the county and to the OCVLC because he has not yet received a penny of the $52,901.15 in restitution the defendant, Randy Ray Richardson, was ordered to pay him in 2009. The victim incurred the costs in getting his ailing and elderly aunt's house back after Richardson and another defendant defrauded her into signing it away.
Richardson, who is a former Multnomah County deputy district attorney, also was sentenced to 30 months in prison. His appeal of his convictions remains pending. Richardson, who subsequently was disbarred, lives in Portland is under post-prison supervision.
The OCVLC thanks the victim for his persistence, Fumi for her work and Multnomah County for taking immediate action to revoke the policy.
OCVLC pro bono attorney Lillian Salminen has obtained a permanent stalking order for a Yamhill County resident whose parents' now-adult former foster child has repeatedly threatened her.
“This case is exactly the kind of case the stalking law was meant for," Judge Cynthia Easterday said at the conclusion of a 80-minute hearing on Oct. 7.
The order makes permanent a temporary stalking order the victim herself had obtained against her stalker on Sept. 6. He also faces a criminal charge of Harassment for some of the same conduct that resulted in the stalking order.
The victim told the court that the defendant lived with her parents as a foster child while she was growing up. She said that her problems with him began in July, after he was released from jail, where he had been serving time on an unrelated offense. The victim had allowed him to stay with her, her husband and children but told him he would have to leave when he wouldn’t obey the house rules. Subsequently, the defendant repeatedly telephoned and came to the house, swearing at and threatening her and her family and, on one occasion spitting on her.
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