An Oregon sheriff’s deputy was charged on March 4 with repeatedly crossing state lines in order to have sex with a minor, reports KBOI. The Oregon deputy, a 45-year-old sergeant employed by the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, traveled to Idaho at least twice for the purposes of having sex with a 15-year-old boy.
The deputy, Michael Alexander of Lake Oswego, Oregon, has been charged with one count of child enticement using the internet and two counts of lewd and lascivious conduct with a child under the age of 16. According to reports, the charges stemmed from a report to the Meridian, Idaho, police that came from the child’s mother. She apparently found “inappropriate” text messages on the child’s phone and contacted the authorities. The resulting investigation led police to the Oregon deputy being charged with multiple child sex abuse-related crimes.
According to the Meridian Police press release, the Oregon deputy used the popular app Grindr to initially contact the child, ultimately visiting the child at least twice in 2015, once in June and again in September.
The Washington County Sheriff’s department also issued a press release detailing the Oregon Deputy being charged with child sex crimes. According to the document, the Washington County, Oregon, Sheriff’s Office received information from the Meridian Police department on February 26 regarding sexual misconduct allegations being made against one of the county’s employees. It was at that time that the nature of Deputy Alexander’s alleged crimes was detailed to his employer, and shortly thereafter the deputy was placed on administrative leave.
The Oregon press release indicates that all crimes the deputy has been charged with allegedly took place while he was off duty.
Oregon Sheriff’s Deputy Alexander reportedly turned himself into the Canyon County Jail on March 4, and was booked into custody as well as officially charged at that time. His bail has been set at $1 million, and the press release indicates that his leave is unpaid.
The Oregon deputy could potentially spend the rest of his life in prison if he is convicted of the charges levied against him. Each count of lewd and lascivious conduct he was charged with carries a potential life sentence, and Deputy Alexander faces up to 15 years on the enticement charge.
The Grindr app that the Oregon deputy allegedly used to entice his 15-year-old victim is a smartphone app geared toward gay and bisexual men. It is marketed as “the world’s largest gay social app,” and it is no stranger to controversy.
In 2014, the app’s lack of age verification led to a 52-year-old man suing Grindr after he claims he unknowingly had a sexual encounter with a 13-year-old boy. Pink News reported that William Saponaro, Jr. met up with the teen and another man for sex, and believed that the 13-year-old was 18 because he’d been using the Grindr app. Saponaro was ultimately charged with sexual assault, among other crimes, and could face two decades in prison if convicted.
After being charged, the 52-year-old sued Grindr for “acting negligently” and causing him “emotional distress.” He is seeking damages for missed work.
Grindr’s legal team have asked for a dismissal of the suit, and a spokesperson for the company refused to comment on pending litigation.
In addition to the lawsuit stemming from Saponaro’s sex act with a minor, the app has also come under fire for what critics call a “security breach.” The alleged breach allows hackers to determine the exact location of Grindr users, sparking safety concerns.
Because the Washington County, Oregon, Sheriff’s department doesn’t speak publicly about pending cases, there’s no way to know how the Grindr app may impact the case against the Oregon deputy charged with child sex abuse.
[Image Courtesy Of Canyon County Sheriff’s Department]