A Portland Police Bureau officer is under investigation after a woman visiting from Las Vegas said he arrived at her Pearl District hotel room to follow up on her domestic assault complaint, stripped naked and ordered her to give him a massage.
Officer Jeromie Palaoro is the subject of a bureau criminal and internal affairs investigation into his alleged actions at the Marriott Residence Inn on Northwest 9th Avenue on July 5.
The woman, Roni Reid-James, tells WW that Palaoro showed her his service revolver before taking off his clothes, groped her and asked for sexual favors, then warned her not to tell anyone because he was writing the report on her assault complaint.
She says he stayed in her hotel room for seven hours.
"It was terrifying," Reid-James says. "I didn't feel like I could leave. I didn't know who I was supposed to call: I'm with a police officer."
Palaoro, 43, is a seven-year veteran of the Portland police. He did not return WW's calls seeking comment.
Police Bureau spokesman Sgt. Peter Simpson says Palaoro is on paid leave pending the outcome of the investigation, and was transferred July 9 from the East Precinct to the personnel division.
Reid-James' attorneys filed a notice July 9 with the city of her intent to sue over Palaoro's alleged actions. A July 14 response from the city's risk-management office says the city is "conducting an investigation of the incident."
Reid-James, 45, works in Las Vegas as a couples relationship and sex coach, offering classes in tantric massage under the business name "The Sex Geek." On July 1, she traveled to Portland to visit her boyfriend, Nikkolas Lewis, and his mother.
On July 4, Reid-James tells WW, she and Lewis got in a fight over his 2-year-old son playing with cigarettes at his mother's home on Southeast 86th Avenue. She says Lewis grabbed her by the throat and repeatedly slammed her to the ground.
She dialed 911, and three Portland police officers responded to the call, including Palaoro, Reid-James says. She says they made no arrests. (Lewis has not been charged with a crime, and declined to comment to WW.)
Reid-James says after she returned to the Residence Inn, Palaoro called her. She texted back. Records obtained by WW show Reid-James was texted repeatedly that night from a phone number she says is Palaoro's.
"Wish I could have given you a hug," says a text sent to her at 11:43 pm. "Didn't like seeing you that upset."
At 1:30 am on July 5, Reid-James received another text from the same number. "Probably not appropriate for me to say," it read, "but I could come see you, or call if you would like. I'm a good listener."
Reid-James says Palaoro arrived at the Residence Inn at 3:33 am, wearing street clothes. She says she invited him to her room expecting him to talk with her and photograph bruises from her alleged assault.
Within 15 minutes of his arrival, Reid-James says, Palaoro pulled his service revolver out of his backpack and asked her if the gun made her uncomfortable. "He set it down on a table by the TV," she says. "And that's when I knew how big a mistake I had made."
Reid-James says Palaoro said he had looked her up online and learned she did tantric massage. "He took all of his clothes off," she says, "and told me I was giving him a massage."
She says Palaoro had an erection, and lay down on the hotel-room bed on his back. Reid-James says she asked him to turn over, and gave him a back massage.
"After that," she says, "it was a long time of him grabbing me, kissing me, taking my hand and trying to have me touch him. It was probably an hour of him telling me not to tell anybody. That he was a police officer, that he was a Navy SEAL, that he was writing my side of what happened."
Reid-James says Palaoro left her hotel room around 11 am.
She says she complained to the Portland Police Bureau on July 6, after Palaoro continued to call and text her.
Reid-James' attorneys, Randall Vogt and Barbara Long, filed a July 9 notice of her intent to sue the city "after completion of the sex crimes investigation."
Police spokesman Simpson says the bureau began investigating Palaoro's actions before Reid-James' attorneys filed their notice. "The Portland Police Bureau takes allegations of misconduct seriously," Simpson says, "and cannot comment any further as this remains an ongoing investigation."
Last year, Palaoro and the city were sued by a Southeast Portland man who said the officer entered his home without a warrant during a dispute with a tenant. Clint Guttman sued the city for $10,000, and the city of Portland settled for $1,501 last June, plus $5,133 in costs and attorney fees.
Reid-James returned to Las Vegas on July 11. She tells WW she remains uneasy and frightened of police.
âI donât know how to explain how it feels to call somebody who you think is going to help you, and have that kind of betrayal,â she says. âI feel like I would have been better off not calling 911.â