November 19, 2019
Today, Multnomah County District Attorney Rod Underhill announced that after reviewing a criminal investigation into how Multnomah County Adult Protective Services (APS) handled abuse and neglect reports, there is insufficient evidence to support criminal charges against any county employee.
The criminal investigation ultimately confirmed that there were instances in which APS screened abuse or neglect reports made to its reporting line but did not notify law enforcement when they arguably should have.
However, the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office is in agreement with the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office in concluding that prosecution in this matter is not warranted.
Specifically, there is insufficient evidence to prove that any Multnomah County worker knowingly violated any statutes relating to the office of the person; that any Multnomah County worker obtained or intended to obtain a personal benefit; that any Multnomah County worker intentionally harmed or intended to harm another person by not notifying law enforcement about abuse reports. Furthermore, there is no evidence of discrimination related to any failure to report.
As stated in the memorandum, APS operates a reporting phone line wherein the agency receives and conducts preliminary screenings of abuse and neglect cases that involve seniors and persons with a disability. Under Oregon law, the county-based APS employees who staff the phone line are mandatory reporters and are thereby required to notify law enforcement if there is reason to believe a crime has occurred.
In August 2018, Multnomah County officials requested a meeting to discuss concerns about how APS handled reports submitted to its phone line. Some of the concerns specifically involved the Unity Center for Behavioral Health, located in the 1200 block of Northeast 2nd Avenue in Portland, Oregon.
Multnomah County started an administrative inquiry into the matter, which was later paused in order to not jeopardize any potential criminal case.
The Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office and the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office were asked to assist by investigating and determining whether any county employee could be held criminally liable for not notifying law enforcement as required by law.
This investigation specifically examined criminal liability for official misconduct.
Multnomah County District Attorney Rod Underhill recognizes Multnomah County Sheriff Captain Harry Smith, MCSO Detective Jay Pentheny, Oregon State Police Detective Ted Moisan and Multnomah County Deputy District Attorney Melissa Marrero for their dedicated efforts investigating this matter.
The Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office has no additional comment regarding this matter.
Contact: Brent Weisberg, Communications Director
Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office
Phone: 503.988.6567 | Email: Brent.Weisberg@nullmcda.us