A D V E R T I S E M E N T
On Feb. 11, 2008, a former Lake Oswego police officer, after a feud with the city, filed a formal complaint with the state department that oversees police, the Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards and Training. The complaint took aim at Terry Timeus, now chief of police in West Linn, and Darryl Wrisley, a lieutenant in the Lake Oswego Police Department. Instructed by the state to probe the matter, West Linn hired an investigator who found little reason for concern.
This newspaper’s investigation of the same complaint, however, found that officials in the Washington County Sheriff’s Office determined Wrisley sexually assaulted a woman while on duty as a deputy there in 1992. It also found that Timeus, a long-time friend, helped Wrisley to salvage his career while the law enforcement community buzzed with talk about the incident. This three-part series examines the police community’s reaction to the assault and its cavalier culture at the time. The name of the alleged victim is printed with her permission.
• May 21: Accused of attempted rape, Wrisley comes to Lake Oswego
• May 28: ‘Cocaine cowboys’ avoid scrutiny
• JUNE 4: City investigation ‘designed to prevent public disclosure’
At first, Kay Vandagriff said she would go to bed at night and see the scene in front of her eyes: An armed man in her home, grabbing at her body, pushing her onto a bed, unzipping his pants.
Hours later, police would photograph her bruises, she said, including injuries to her mouth caused by biting her lips closed. But it would be years before time would finally push the memory to the back of her thoughts, said Vandagriff, though never far.
“I would try to go to sleep at night, and it was just right there,” she said. “It’s like it happened yesterday, and it’s been so many years.”
Vandagriff said she relived the attack from 1992 over and over in therapy, so much that even she stopped being shocked by it. But she knows the story she tells is shocking. Nobody wants to believe that an on-duty police officer could attack a woman in her home.
But what Vandagriff can’t believe, she said, is how he got away with it.
A lot has changed since then. Back then, Vandagriff’s last name was Williams. And back then, the man she accused of trying to rape her was a sheriff’s deputy.
Now, 17 years later, Darryl Wrisley is a lieutenant in the Lake Oswego Police Department, two levels below the chief. And Vandagriff’s allegations against him were silenced a long time ago in a deal between Wrisley and the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.
Wrisley denied Vandagriff’s allegations at the time and still denies them today. A grand jury that heard the case did not press criminal charges following an Oregon State Police investigation of the incident.
Yet documents obtained through a public records lawsuit show that, after its own internal investigation, the sheriff’s office concluded that Vandagriff told the truth about being sexually assaulted by Wrisley while he delivered a raffle prize to her home. Moreover, a superior officer said that Wrisley did not tell the truth when trying to explain his visit to Vandagriff’s house.
In a summary of the investigation’s findings, officials noted:
“We conclude that the following events did occur:
• “On Dec. 11, 1992 Deputy Wrisley while on duty did drive a county-owned vehicle … to the home of Kay Williams.
• “Deputy Wrisley did not inform his supervisor that he was going to deliver the sweatshirt to Williams and did not ask permission from his supervisor to do so.
• “Deputy Wrisley, while at the Williams’ residence, did touch the bare breasts of Kay Williams, and did touch his bare penis to the lips of Kay Williams.
• “Kay Williams did not invite this sexual activity from Deputy Wrisley and did resist Wrisley’s attempts at sexual contact.”
Terry Timeus, a former Lake Oswego police officer, is the new police chief in West Linn.
In spite of those findings and despite the rigorous moral fitness standards required for Oregon police officers, Wrisley continues a career in law enforcement. And though Wrisley was arrested for assault and drunken driving while a Lake Oswego police officer in 2000, he again was able to keep his job.
Documents obtained through this newspaper, as well as interviews with current and former law enforcement officers and officials, show how Wrisley was able to remain a police officer.
He did so not only with help from a police officers’ union and laws that make it hard to fire police, but also with assistance from well-connected friends, including Terry Timeus – then a corporal in the Lake Oswego Police Department and now chief of the West Linn Police Department – and Dan Duncan, then a patrol sergeant and now chief of the Lake Oswego Police Department.
Officials in the Lake Oswego Police Department and both Timeus and Duncan were aware of the 1992 allegations against Wrisley when he was hired by Lake Oswego. Timeus and Wrisley were roommates as the allegations unfolded.
Today, both police chiefs stand by Wrisley. They say they have seen no behavior similar to that alleged in 1992. That a grand jury heard the case and did not press criminal charges, combined with the deal struck with the sheriff’s office, convinced both to vouch for Wrisley when he applied to Lake Oswego for a job.
Darryl Wrisley is a lieutenant in the
Lake Oswego Police Department.
Duncan said that Wrisley is an asset to the Lake Oswego Police Department.
“I have no concerns that he would engage in any behavior similar to what was alleged,” he said.
The Washington County Sheriff’s Office, however, stands by its original findings in its investigation of Wrisley.
Penny Harrington, former chief of the Portland Police Bureau and a founding director of the National Center for Women and Policing in San Diego, said the story echoes a classic and problematic scenario in law enforcement where violent officers continue working, primarily because the officers around them fail to challenge their behavior.
“There is no excuse for keeping a man who is violent on your police force,” said Harrington. “This guy’s got more lives than a cat.”
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