Pictures of the Family Justice Center of Washington County and Executive Director Toni Loch. 

BEAVERTON, Ore.- It has been open for less than a year, but it hasn’t taken long for the Family Justice Center of Washington County to make an impact on the community.

The FJC opened in March of 2018 and has already had more than 4,000 visits from community members, according to Executive Director Toni Loch. Loch says the majority of those visits—1,500 or so—are from domestic violence victims seeking a restraining order, a process the FJC has helped streamline.

“What would normally take days with children in tow and unreliable transportation, now can be done in a matter of a few hours,” Loch said of how the center helps victims secure restraining orders.

That’s exactly why the FJC was created in the first place, to help victims of domestic violence get the help they need in the easiest way possible. Where previously victims might have to make several stops to various city and county agencies, now they just go straight to the FJC for help. Victims can even conduct court proceedings via video conference, eliminating the need to see their abuser in person.

“They do come in timid and intimidated, then by the time they leave they’ve got hope,” Loch said of the transformation she sees in the victims they’ve helped so far.

The FJC doesn’t just help with restraining orders, they offer a wide array of services. Loch says they’ve already offered counseling to 1,500 people, helped more than 200 find stable housing and have offered legal services to 223 people so far. She says the FJC is here to help, any way they can.

“What we try to do is free families from the abuse they have been living in, however we might be able to help with that,” Loch said.

The Washington County District Attorney’s Office has been a supporter of the FJC since day one. Former District Attorney Bob Herman serves on the FJC board, and current District Attorney Kevin Barton will be joining the board this year as well.

“The Family Justice Center demonstrates Washington County’s collaborative approach toward addressing complex challenges,” Barton said of the partnership. “In the District Attorney’s Office, we see on a daily basis the negative impact domestic violence has on our community. Our partnership with the Family Justice Center provides a critical resource to victims and survivors as we help them navigate through the criminal justice system.”

Loch echoes those sentiments as well. While this work can certainly take a toll on her and her staff, she says there’s no better feeling than seeing how these families are able to turn their lives around.

“I feel greatly rewarded by that. I’ve never found anything more rewarding than helping victims of domestic violence,” Loch said.

If you’d like to show your support for the FJC or just want to learn more, visit their website.

Patrick Michael Paluda

Patrick Michael Paluda.

HILLSBORO, Ore.- On December 20, 2018, Judge Janelle Factora Wipper sentenced Patrick Michael Paluda to 130 months in prison after a Washington County jury found him guilty of multiple charges brought against him by Senior Deputy District Attorney John Gerhard. Paluda was found guilty of Assault in the Second-Degree, Coercion, Strangulation, Menacing, Felon in Possession of a Firearm and multiple drug-related charges.

Paluda was arrested in June of 2018 by members of the Inter-agency Washington County Tactical Negotiations Team (TNT), or SWAT. Officers were dispatched to a home Paluda was renting after a neighbor called 911 to report shouting and a possible domestic disturbance there. When officers first arrived, they found the female victim screaming for help as she tried to escape the home by scaling a fence in the backyard.

After further investigation, Washington County Sheriff’s Office Detectives Pat Tapley and Mark Povolny found evidence that Paluda was holding the victim against her will. He screwed all windows and doors shut and modified a garage door handle so that it would lock from the outside, trapping the victim in his home. He also threatened her with a gun, making her fear for her safety if she tried to leave. When he returned home that day, he began an assault on the victim that lasted several hours.

The Washington County District Attorney’s Office takes domestic violence very seriously. In this case, we observed an escalating level of violence that spanned nearly a year and a half.  While the victim was reluctant to participate in this prosecution, the criminal justice system is sometimes obligated to intervene and ensure the safety of everyone in our community.

If you suspect someone is in an abusive relationship, call law enforcement immediately. You can also report the abuse by calling the Domestic Violence Resource Center’s 24-hour crisis line at 866-469-8600. You can also visit our website to find more information and resources.

Media contact information
Stephen Mayer
Public Information Officer
503-846-8618

HILLSBORO, Ore.- On December 18, 2018, Robert Alan Stewart pleaded guilty to Rape in the Second-Degree and was sentenced to 75 months in prison. Judge Charles Bailey oversaw the case.

This case began in 2013, when Stewart met his female victim online. He was 27-years-old at the time but claimed to be 19. His victim was 13-years-old. He gave the victim alcohol and marijuana and engaged in sexual intercourse with her several times.

The crimes didn’t come to light until 2018, when a School Resource Officer with the Tigard Police Department learned of possible abuse involving the victim. Detective John Shipley of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office took over the investigation and arrested Stewart a short time later.

Stewart was also convicted of Sexual Abuse in the Second-Degree in 2014 in an unrelated case also involving a juvenile victim. Based on this pattern of conduct, investigators fear there could be additional victims.

Anyone with information related to possible crimes involving Stewart should call law enforcement right away. You can also report these types of crimes anonymously by calling the Child Abuse Reporting hotline at 503-731-3100.

Media contact information
Stephen Mayer
Public Information Officer
503-846-8618

HILLSBORO, Ore.- On December 17, 2018, the Washington County Adult Drug Court took a break from normal proceedings to celebrate the holidays and the accomplishments of those enrolled in our program. Suits and ties were replaced by holiday costumes and decorations as court staff celebrated the progress of their clients.

Designed as an alternative to prison for those who have struggled with drug and alcohol addiction, the program has helped hundreds of non-violent offenders break the cycle of addiction. Many of these offenders are parents, and one of the main objectives of Drug Court is the reunification of families.

Court staff chipped in and purchased Christmas gifts for the children of the participants. Over a shared meal, the participants, attorneys, judges, and treatment providers had the opportunity to socialize with one another in a more relaxed setting.

“The recovery community is incredibly supportive of one another,” said Rayney Meisel, the Drug Court Deputy District Attorney. “When people do the right things, and stay involved in the community, good things happen. This holiday party is a nice opportunity for people to relax a little, socialize, and celebrate their successes and the good things that come from good choices and good work."

The Washington County Adult Drug Court is a criminal court program designed for some of the county's most seriously drug-involved offenders. Judge Beth L. Roberts administers the Adult Drug Court program which is a collaborative effort between the Washington County District Attorney's Office, the Washington County Probation Department, the Washington County Sheriff's Department, The Department of Human Services, the Public Defender's Office, and Washington County treatment community and treatment programs.

Since its inception in 2005, the Washington County Drug Court program has graduated more than 200 participants and paid back more than $120,000 in restitution to victims. The participants and graduates have had more than 211 years’ worth of state prison sentences deferred and more than 35 years of county jail sentences deferred.  With incarceration costs between $84.00 and $88.00 per person per day, the Washington County Drug Court has saved roughly $7 million in Oregon tax dollars.

HILLSBORO, Ore.- On December 14, 2018, a Washington County jury found Tyrone Neil Murphy guilty on multiple counts of sexual assault after a pattern of victimization that spanned a decade. Murphy was found guilty on four counts of first-degree Sodomy, two counts of first-degree Rape, and two counts of second-degree Sex Abuse.

Murphy has five prior convictions for third-degree Sex Abuse from 2009. This most recent investigation began in 2017 after an initial complaint was made to law enforcement. Detective Anthony Johnson of the Hillsboro Police Department worked diligently, ultimately locating two additional, previously undisclosed, female victims. All of the victims were females previously known to Mr. Murphy.  Deputy District Attorney Rayney Meisel prosecuted the case against Murphy. 

“It’s very likely the magnitude of this case would never have come to light if not for the determination of Detective Johnson,” Meisel said.

The District Attorney’s Office would also like to thank Detective Tobby Cook, also of the Hillsboro Police Department, for his expert testimony in the field of Domestic Violence.  “This was a satisfying verdict that, I hope, will bring closure and peace to Mr. Murphy’s victims,” Meisel added.  

Judge Theodore Sims oversaw the trial. Sentencing is set for January 23, 2019.

Media contact information
Stephen Mayer
Public Information Officer
503-846-8618

Darby McBride

HILLSBORO, Ore.- On December 13, 2018, a Washington County jury found Darby Andrew McBride guilty on all three counts brought against him by Deputy District Attorney Jeffery MacLean. Those charges include Assault 3 Serious Injury with Weapon, Reckless Driving and Criminal Mischief 2 Reckless.

These charges stem from a vehicular crash in which McBride’s SUV slammed into another vehicle which had pulled to the side of the road off Highway 26 in December of 2017. That crash caused life-threatening injuries to the victim, off-duty Tigard Police officer Matthew Barbee.

After an extensive investigation by the inter-agency Washington County Crash Analysis Reconstruction Team (CART) and the Hillsboro Police Department, the District Attorney’s office presented the case to a grand jury. That grand jury sent back an indictment on three charges in March of 2018 and the trial against McBride began in December.

The three-day trial took place in Judge Andrew R. Erwin’s courtroom. Sentencing is set for January 4, 2018.

Media contact information
Stephen Mayer
Public Information Officer
503-846-8618

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