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Ex-Sunriver police officer charged with official misconduct


(Update: Comments from police chief, Hughes’ attorney says they will fight ‘ludicrous’ charges)

Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel filed official misconduct charges Thursday against a former Sunriver police officer, accusing him of abandoning his patrol post to meet his girlfriend and failing to investigate or report her alleged sexual assault to Bend police.

The district attorney filed the two-count information in circuit court, accusing former Officer Kasey Hughes, 39, of two counts of first-degree official misconduct

Hummel said the basis for one of the charges is that on Nov. 11, 2018, Hughes allegedly “abandoned his patrol post, thereby leaving Sunriver without police protection for numerous early morning hours.”

He said the second charge alleges that on the same night, “Hughes failed to investigate a sexual assault complaint, nor did he report the alleged assault to the Bend Police Department for investigation.”

Hughes was married at the time to a Sunriver police officer, Hummel said. His charging document and other court documents filed for the couple’s divorce in December identified her as Tiffany Hughes.

Kasey Hughes joined the resort community’s police force, which has 12 sworn officers, in 2005, records show.

“While married to her, he had a girlfriend that his wife did not know about,” the prosecutor said.

In the early-morning hours of Nov. 11, Hummel said, “Hughes’ girlfriend called him from Bend with a frantic plea for help, stating that she feared she had been sexually assaulted.”

“Rather than call Bend Police officers to respond to the scene, Hughes chose to drive his Sunriver police car to downtown Bend to contact his girlfriend,” the district attorney said.

“But if he left immediately after the call from his girlfriend, his wife, who was on duty with him that night, might have found out about his girlfriend. So he chose to wait until his wife went off-duty, then he drove to Bend. This left Sunriver without an officer on duty,” Hummel explained.

“And when Hughes contacted his girlfriend, he did not interview witnesses to the alleged crime, did not collect evidence, and did not contact Bend Police,” the district attorney said.

Hummel also made this statement about the case in his release:

“Adultery is not a crime and is not why Kasey Hughes is facing criminal charges. Mr. Hughes was charged today because the actions he took to conceal his affair put the residents of Sunriver at risk by leaving them without police protection for many hours. He’s also charged because his failure to investigate a sexual assault put all of Deschutes County at risk by potentially allowing a violent person to walk the streets instead of being held accountable for his actions.

“I commend Sunriver Police Chief Cory Darling for detecting this misconduct and quickly referring the matter to the Deschutes County Sheriff for investigation.”

Hughes is scheduled for an initial court hearing on April 11 at 1:15 p.m.

Darling told NewsChannel 21 that Kasey Hughes was dismissed from the department but Tiffany Hughes remains an officer with the agency.

“I just want the community to know this is a difficult time, and we are going to do the right thing for the community,” the police chief said. “It’s just an unfortunate situation that I wish didn’t happen, but it did.”

Hughes forwarded a request for comment to his attorney, Jaime Goldberg of Portland, who told NewsChannel 21 they intend to fight the charges, which he called “ludicrous” and an “extreme overreach.”

“It’s basically taking police policies and turning them into criminal charges,” Goldberg said.

The attorney acknowledged that Hughes leaving Sunriver while on duty “was a violation of the work rules, but turning them into criminal charges is an overreach.”

Goldberg said Hughes’ girlfriend contacted him in a “stressed, catatonic state. He didn’t know what had happened to her. He went to Bend to learn. At that point, it was a rape complaint.”

He said Hughes took the woman to St. Charles Bend and told nurses there to contact Bend police “so he could get back to Sunriver. He actually caused the sexual assault to be reported. The first order was to get her medical care.”

The attorney also said it would have been “a huge conflict of interest” for Hughes to investigate the alleged assault in any way, due to his relationship with the alleged victim and the fact that it happened in Bend.

Goldberg also said Hughes and his wife already had separated and were living in separate bedrooms at the time of the incident. “She had told him they were getting a divorce, so they were on their way out,” he said.

Another Sunriver officer, Sgt. Joseph Patnode, has been on paid administrative leave since Feb. 20 for allegedly mishandling the investigation into Hughes.

The Sunriver Service District and Police Department accused Patnode of failing to act on information about Hughes’ reported misconduct and share it with supervisors. He’s also accused of disobeying orders and sharing information about Hughes with another officer.

Patnode has challenged the accusations, filing a petition in Deschutes County Circuit Court asking a judge to review the case. He claimed he can only be disciplined if he willfully violated department policy, which he denied doing.

Patnode also was involved in a 2017 incident that led to the resignation of former Sunriver Police Chief Marc Mills, who pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor harassment charge. Mills struck Patnode in the chest with a metal sign, causing the sergeant’s head to hit a wall.

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