Columbia County Circuit Judge Cathleen Callahan ruled today that a five-year sexual abuse protective order will stay in place against freshman state Rep. Brian Stout (R-Columbia City).
After three days of hearings over four months, Callahan issued a scathing 13-page opinion that denied Stout’s motion to have the order removed. Callahan repeatedly called claims that Stout made during the hearing “not credible.”
“Petitioner’s testimony was extremely credible, and the court finds that the respondent was not credible,” Callahan wrote.
Nicholas Herman, Stout’s attorney, said his client planned to appeal.
“We strongly disagree with the ruling,” Herman said in an email.
On the stand, Stout denied that he sexually abused the petitioner on any of five occasions she detailed in her Nov. 7 petition for the protective order, calling her accounts “flat-out lies.”
Stout admitted only that the woman had performed fellatio on him after a 2020 campaign event, but that the encounter was consensual and she had initiated it, he said. Stout’s wife walked in on the pair as the act concluded.
“There was a huge lapse of judgment by me,” Stout said. “I let her pull my pants down and perform oral sex. It was short, it was brief, and it was a mistake. She wanted it to go further. It did not.”
Throughout the hearing, Stout’s defense was to go on offense. He claimed that his accuser—the petitioner, in this case—was stalking him at the local Elks lodge and in a city park, and that she had sought the protection order to get him ejected from the Oregon House of Representatives so she could get a job with his replacement.
(It is WW’s policy not to name the victim in sexual assault cases.)
Stout “switched to the playing the victim, stating that petitioner had to twice be dragged off his wife (not true), he was being stalked (not true), petitioner joined the Elks and attends events just to harass or stalk him (not true), petitioner is openly aggressive to him in public (not true),” Callahan wrote.
“With respect to the sexual abuse, the court finds that respondent (Stout) did commit an act of abuse meaning the touching of the sexual or intimate parts for the purpose of arousing or gratifying the sexual desire of either party without consent,” Callahan wrote. “The court determines that the SAPO [sexual abuse protective order] will be upheld.”
In her order, Callahan recounted much of the testimony, including some of the most damaging to Stout. Stout and the woman, a volunteer on his losing 2020 campaign, made an agreement that same year that they would start an “emotional relationship,” Callahan wrote.
“After this first conversation between the parties, petitioner testified that, after the agreement vis-a-vis their new status, respondent stated, ‘If you ever tell anyone about this, I’m going to push you off a cliff at Multnomah Falls,’” Callahan wrote. “The SAPO recites that on this occasion, that he slapped her bottom and grabbed her arm to pull her back towards him.”
“Petitioner did join the Elks Lodge after respondent and they both appeared at local events,” Callahan wrote. “Neither of these incidents in a small town during an election cycle is considered stalking, harassing or obsessive about him. Respondent is not credible about these claims.”
It is unclear how the ruling will affect Stout’s legislative career. Because of the protective order against him, House Speaker Dan Rayfield (D-Corvallis) withheld all committee assignments from Stout. That means he can participate in GOP caucus meetings (which are closed to the public) and floor votes but nothing else.