December 8th, 2009 | by JAMES PITKIN News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, CLEAN UP

BREAKING: AG Releases Minnis Investigation (Expanded and Updated)

John Minnis

Attorney General John Kroger today released the results of the investigation that led to the abrupt Nov. 24 resignation of John Minnis as director of the state Department of Public Safety Standards and Training.

As first reported in last week's WW, the issue that prompted Minnis to resign is the alleged sexual harassment and possible sexual assault of a female employee. Those allegations were the focus of a criminal investigation by the state Justice Department.

A letter (PDF) released today by DOJ chief criminal counsel Sean Riddell says prosecutors declined to pursue charges against Minnis because they can't prove he broke any laws "in regards to his personal relationship with a particular employee under his supervision."

However, Riddell's letter to DPPST deputy director Eriks Gabliks notes Minnis "admitted to conduct that occurred outside of our jurisdiction that we do not have the authority to decline or accept prosecution."

The DOJ forwarded a copy of its investigation to the San Diego Police Department and has offered to assist in that department's ongoing investigation, Riddell's letter says.

Minnis' attorney, Mike Staropoli, declined to comment when reached by phone.

Minnis told investigators the relationship included kissing, touching and gifts but was consensual and stopped short of intercourse.

His former subordinate disputed that characterization, saying Minnis pursued her relentlessly from October 2008 through November 2009 and plied her with alcohol during work training trips together despite knowing she had a drinking problem.

Details from interviews and other heavily redacted documents released Tuesday by Kroger's office include the woman alleging Minnis suggested getting state-paid two-way radios so they could communicate undetected by Minnis' wife.

The woman also said she initially felt comfortable working for Minnis because "he was married for 35 years, was a Christian and talked about that all the time."

The woman says that at least twice Minnis put her to bed and she woke up with no clothes on.

When she asked him what happened, she says he told her “you participate.” The woman says she was unsure whether Minnis had sex with her when she was asleep.

Minnis denies taking advantage of the woman or having intercourse with her. Investigators say Minnis told them anything they did was consensual and that he ejaculated in her presence.

In his interview with investigators, Minnis told them he had not discussed the woman with anyone. “I mean I probably talked to a priest because my wife's gonna freaking shoot me.”

Minnis' wife, Karen Minnis, who is also a Republican, was speaker of the Oregon House in 2003 and 2005.

The DOJ interviewed five people, reviewed Minnis' emails and combed through hundreds of pages of documents — including travel expenses — as part of its investigation.

Minnis, 55, is a former eight-term lawmaker from Wood Village. In 2004, Gov. Ted Kulongoski appointed Minnis — then a Republican state senator and retired Portland police officer — to head DPSST. The agency certifies police, firefighters, probation and parole officers, private investigators and security companies.

The AG's investigation brings an ignominious end to a long public career — something Minnis seemed conscious of when he raised the spectre of another disgraced east Multnomah County law enforcement officer.

“My intent would be not to be some bozo that hangs on, uh. tries to drag people," Minnis told investigators. "You know, try to remember Bernie Giusto is a good example of somebody that hung on and hung on and hung on.”

See tomorrow's WW for more.

Here are the documents (all PDFs) the AG's office released late this afternoon:

 
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