On July 26, 2018, Samuel T. Burris of Beaverton was sentenced to 150 months in prison by Judge Janelle Wipper for two incidents where he publicly masturbated at Dollar Tree stores in front of children under 10 years old. Burris, a registered sex offender, will not be eligible for early release.

Burris approached two young sisters in the candy aisle of the Dollar Tree in Aloha on October 11, 2017. He grabbed both girls on their buttocks and then exposed himself. The victims ran to tell their mother, who managed to take a picture of Burris as he was leaving the store. Law enforcement used the photo to identify Burris and connect him to a previous incident that fit the same pattern of behavior: on September 7, 2017, Burris had exposed himself to two young sisters at a Dollar Tree store on Cornell Rd in NW Portland, but was able to flee before police were called. After he was arrested investigators searched his phone and found a picture he had taken of the buttocks of yet another young girl.

Trial began on June 12, 2018, and lasted for more than three days. Burris claimed the case was one of mistaken identity, but jurors unanimously convicted him of all counts after hearing testimony from the young victims and viewing the photos for themselves. At sentencing prosecutor Allison Brown of the DA's Office Child Abuse Team discussed the predatory nature of Burris' behavior in explaining the danger he poses to the community. Ultimately Judge Wipper chose to impose consecutive sentences on the most serious charges, citing the age of victims and Burris' history among the factors that influenced her decision.

Burris' convictions include two counts of Sexual Abuse in the First Degree, two counts of Public Indecency, and four counts of Endangering the Welfare of a Minor. This case is another reminder that child sex abuse occurs at a time and place of the abuser's choosing, frequently when there are no other witnesses and physical evidence can be hidden or destroyed. Oregon law recognizes that often the only evidence of abuse is the testimony of the victim. Persons wishing to report child sex abuse are encouraged to contact any law enforcement agency, the Department of Human Services child abuse reporting hotline at 503-681-6917, or to simply call 911.

https://katu.com/news/local/man-samuel-burris-who-exposed-himself-to-girls-in-dollar-tree-stores-sentenced-to-150-months-in-prison

On July 19, 2018, a Washington County jury unanimously convicted 40 year-old Michael Henry Forker of nine child sex crimes stemming from his abuse of a homeless 16 year-old boy in 2002. The verdict came after three days of trial in which jurors in the courtroom of Judge Ricardo J. Menchaca heard testimony from Forker's now grown victim as he relived the abuse that has tormented him for a decade and a half. Forker now faces a maximum sentence of over 40 years in prison.

The case against Forker began back in 2003 when investigators from the Washington County Sheriff's Office seized his vast collection of child pornography. Forker was eventually convicted of Encouraging Child Sexual Abuse in the Second Degree for the possession of those materials, but investigators always suspected that Forker had personally abused a victim in the Washington County area. After being revoked from his probation Forker moved back to Idaho, where he was repeatedly investigated on suspicion of additional crimes against underage boys. The victim reported that he could not bring himself to speak up in 2003, but found the courage after learning of these subsequent investigations.

At trial, jurors learned that at the time of the abuse the victim was homeless and vulnerable after a painful experience coming out as homosexual. Forker befriended the victim online and moved from Idaho to Aloha to begin sexually abusing the teen. Once in Oregon, Forker also volunteered at the Outside In shelter for homeless youth and applied to be an overnight counselor at a residential treatment program for teenage boys.

This case is another reminder that the victims of child sex crimes often wait to report past abuse. Child sex abuse occurs at a time and place of the abuser's choosing, frequently when there are no other witnesses and physical evidence can be hidden or destroyed. Persons wishing to report child sex abuse are encouraged to contact any law enforcement agency, the Department of Human Services child abuse reporting hotline at 503-681-6917, or to simply call 911.

Detective Dawn Vandenhey with the Washington County Sheriff's Office headed the investigation, and the case was prosecuted by Senior Deputy District Attorney Megan Johnson. Forker's convictions include Sexual Abuse in the First Degree, five counts of Sexual Abuse in the Second Degree, and three counts of Sodomy in the First Degree. Forker is expected to be sentenced in late September, 2018.

HILLSBORO, ORE: Effective July 1, 2018, Kevin Barton took office as Washington County's new District Attorney.  Mr. Barton won a contested election for the position on May 15, 2018, garnering 68.5% of the votes.  Following Mr. Barton's successful campaign, longtime District Attorney Bob Hermann announced his decision to retire six months early and Governor Brown appointed Mr. Barton to serve the remainder of the term this year before starting his elected term in January 2019.

Mr. Barton has been a Washington County prosecutor for over a decade, most recently serving as Chief Deputy District Attorney supervising the Child Abuse and Juvenile units. Over the course of his career Mr. Barton has prosecuted many of Washington County's most serious crimes, including murder, child abuse, sex trafficking, elder abuse, and domestic violence.  He developed a special expertise handling cases involving vulnerable victims, especially children, and was chairperson of the Washington County Child Abuse Multidisciplinary Team. Mr. Barton continues to serve on the governing board of CARES Northwest, a collaborative community-based medical program whose mission is to stop child abuse.  He is also a member of the Oregon DOJ's Child Abuse Multidisciplinary Intervention Advisory Council and Fight Crime: Invest in Kids.

Mr. Barton now leads Oregon's second largest DA's Office of over 40 attorneys and 115 total employees.  In 2017, the Washington County DA's Office reviewed over 11,000 cases for prosecution, served over 8,000 crime victims, and obtained court-orders for over $8 million in victim restitution.

"I look forward to the opportunity to continue to serve the people of Washington County as their District Attorney," said Mr. Barton.  "Washington County is my home and I will work to ensure it remains a safe place for people to live, work and raise a family."

As District Attorney, Mr. Barton will prioritize protecting vulnerable victims, increasing community outreach, and enhancing treatment courts and specialty programs for those dealing with mental health or addiction issues.  Mr. Barton will also focus on initiatives to increase the capacity to work with digital evidence in criminal investigations and to ensure the safety of schools in Washington County.

Mr. Barton was raised locally and lives in Washington County with his wife and three children.  He attended Gonzaga University and Notre Dame Law School.

On Monday, May 7, 2018, three Atlanta-area residents admitted to involvement in a check-fraud scheme that paid homeless people to steal from Oregon banks and businesses. Marcus Eppinger, Rodrickus Robinson, and Brittane Robinson each pled guilty to three counts of Forgery in the First Degree and were sentenced to probation by Washington County Circuit Court judges.

These convictions stem from an investigation conducted by Detective Gabe Stone of the Tigard Police Department with the assistance of several other law-enforcement agencies. Investigators learned that the Georgia-based theft crew traveled to Oregon for the purpose of committing check fraud. The defendants acquired checks from local Oregon businesses, investigators believe likely via theft from the mail. The defendants then went to Portland area homeless shelters and recruited individuals to present and cash checks forged on the victims' bank accounts. The defendants purchased new clothes for the homeless people and then shuttled them from bank to bank to present the forged checks. Using this fraudulent scheme the defendants stole more than $10,000 on April 10, 2018, while paying their homeless accomplices pennies on the dollar.

On April 11, 2018, the defendants set out to continue their check fraud. But this time investigators followed the defendants in unmarked cars. Police observed the defendants drive to a downtown-Portland homeless shelter in an attempt to recruit more check cashers. Later that day, detectives detained and arrested all three defendants for First Degree Forgery and Theft. Two of the defendants confessed to their involvement in the fraud, and police seized approximately $18,000 in cash found in their possession. Rodrickus Robinson was also found in possession of computer equipment and software for making counterfeit checks.

This case was prosecuted by DDA David Pitcher and investigated by Detective Stone and other members of Tigard PD Commercial Crimes Unit in conjunction with partner agencies in the Portland metro area.

Media contact information
Andrew Freeman
503-846-3759
andrew_freeman@co.washington.or.us

HILLSBORO, Ore. - The Washington County District Attorney’s Office, in partnership with the Department of Veterans Affairs, Washington County Circuit Court, Washington County Community Corrections, and Washington County Veterans Services, is proud to announce the Washington County Veterans Treatment Court (VTC).  After more than a year of collaborative efforts, we have been able to forge a specialty court designed to treat the needs of military veterans. We recognize that military service can leave service members both physically and mentally scarred either from combat or other traumatic experiences. These service members often return to civilian life as a “different person,” and some of these veterans end up involved in the criminal justice system.

The VTC was designed with the belief that “if we broke them, then we must do what we can to fix them.”  There has long-been a void in the criminal justice system when it comes to addressing the specific needs of veterans. Oftentimes, veterans are treated like other criminal defendants by correcting behavior and treating substance abuse, but not adequately addressing the underlying causes of a veteran’s criminal conduct, such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), depression, traumatic brain injury, etc. Our partnership with the Portland VA Healthcare System is focused on tailoring treatment to the specific needs of veterans using evidence-based methods that will get veterans back on track to being the persons they once were.

The VTC will involve intensive supervision and treatment of veterans, as well as wraparound services including housing and employment services. The multidisciplinary treatment team includes judges, prosecutors, a defense attorney, probation officers, VA representatives and veteran mentors, many of whom are also veterans. Eligible veterans will need to establish a connection between their military service and the charged criminal offense(s). Once accepted into the program, the treatment team will work to re-instill structure and discipline in the veteran’s life and provide the veteran with the tools and opportunities to demonstrate that he or she is better than the charged crime. We anticipate the average supervision period to last eighteen (18) months, with variation based upon the needs of individual veterans. Successful veterans may be able to receive a dismissal of the criminal case, reduction of a felony charge to a misdemeanor, or a sentence of discharge.

The VTC seeks to enhance community safety by getting veterans into the intensive treatment they need and helping to restore them as productive, law-abiding members of our community and families. The VTC will compliment Washington County’s robust, existing specialty courts and programs, including Drug Court, Mental Health Court, Family Sentencing Alternative Program, Domestic Violence Deferred Sentencing court, intensive drug and property probation, Early Case Resolution program and DUII Diversion court.  We look forward to launching the Veterans Treatment Court in the summer of 2018.

HILLSBORO, Ore. – The Washington County District Attorney’s Office is announcing the creation of a School Safety Task Force formed in partnership with the Washington County Child Abuse Multidisciplinary Team (MDT).

The School Safety Task Force will work toward ensuring that schoolchildren, staff, and faculty are safe when they attend or work in Washington County public and private schools. The task force will consider a wide range of potential threats to school children. This will include evaluating initiatives to prevent school shootings and violence, as well as addressing cyber and online threats, sexting and sexual assaults, bullying, youth suicides, and drug endangerment. This task force will look for ways to compliment existing local, statewide, and national efforts to address school safety issues and focus on specific issues impacting Washington County schools.

Washington County is home to over 100,000 school-age children. All children, staff, and faculty in our schools have a right to a safe educational environment and the Washington County DA’s Office and Child Abuse MDT is committed to working to ensure that safety.

The School Safety Task Force will utilize the existing resources of the Washington County MDT, which is a public-private collaboration of representatives from various organizations who work to ensure the safety of children. The MDT has a long history of engaging in a multidisciplinary approach to enhance child safety.

The Washington County MDT is chaired by Chief Deputy DA Kevin Barton and includes members from the District Attorney’s Office, local law enforcement agencies, school districts, mental health professionals, the Department of Human Services (DHS), CARES Northwest, the Washington County Juvenile Department, Washington County Community Corrections, and the Washington County Health and Human Services Department.

For inquiries contact District Attorney PIO Andrew Freeman at 503-846-3759 or Andrew_freeman@co.washington.or.us (preferred).

Media contact information
Andrew Freeman
Public Information Officer
503-846-3759
Andrew_freeman@co.washington.or.us

Featured Articles

On July 26, 2018, Samuel T. Burris of Beaverton was sentenced to 150 months in prison by Judge Janelle Wipper for two incidents where he publicly masturbated at Dollar Tree stores in front of children...
On July 19, 2018, a Washington County jury unanimously convicted 40 year-old Michael Henry Forker of nine child sex crimes stemming from his abuse of a homeless 16 year-old boy in 2002. The verdict...
HILLSBORO, ORE: Effective July 1, 2018, Kevin Barton took office as Washington County's new District Attorney.  Mr. Barton won a contested election for the position on May 15, 2018, garnering 68....
On Monday, May 7, 2018, three Atlanta-area residents admitted to involvement in a check-fraud scheme that paid homeless people to steal from Oregon banks and businesses. Marcus Eppinger, Rodrickus...
HILLSBORO, Ore. - The Washington County District Attorney’s Office, in partnership with the Department of Veterans Affairs, Washington County Circuit Court, Washington County Community Corrections,...
HILLSBORO, Ore. – The Washington County District Attorney’s Office is announcing the creation of a School Safety Task Force formed in partnership with the Washington County Child Abuse...
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