HILLSBORO, Ore.- Members of the Washington County District Attorney’s Office showed their generosity and commitment to the community through their participation in the Tree of Giving campaign. Office staff helped fill donation requests for 40 children and collected hats, scarves, socks, gloves, blankets and toiletries for distribution at severe weather shelters across the area.

The effort to collect toys and other items for needy children was launched by Larry Eisele in the 1980’s and has grown ever since. Designed to help Washington County children in the foster care system, coordinators from the county work closely with the SCOTTY Foundation to help brighten the holidays for these children.

District Attorney Kevin Barton says his staff jump at the chance to give back.

“The Tree of Giving campaign is something that all of us in the DA’s Office look forward to being part of every year.  So much of our daily work deals with crime and its impact on the community that having an opportunity to make a child’s holiday season brighter is a true pleasure,” Barton said.

Heather Robinson with Washington County Solid Waste & Recycling took over the program in 2005 and has helped ensure its success ever since. In all, she says county employees donated toys for 400 local foster kids in addition to the 375 items that will be used in severe weather shelters.

If you’d like to learn more about the program, visit the SCOTTY Foundation’s website.

HILLSBORO, Ore.- Today, Judge Andrew R. Erwin sentenced Darby Andrew McBride to jail time and probation for his role in a 2017 crash which caused life-threatening injuries to off-duty Tigard Police Officer Matthew Barbee. See our previous press release on this case here.

McBride was sentenced to 14 months in jail and three years of probation for his convictions of Assault in the 3rd Degree, Reckless Driving and Criminal Mischief in the 2nd Degree. McBride was also ordered to complete 250 hours of community service and will have his license suspended for five years. He will also be required to undergo an alcohol and substance abuse evaluation and comply with all medical advice regarding his narcolepsy.

Mr. Barbee’s wife, Sherrie Utley, gave an emotional victim impact statement imploring the judge to hand down the maximum possible sentence in the case. You can read her full statement below.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Jeff MacLean prosecuted the case and was pleased with the sentence handed down by the judge.

“Safety concerns on our roadways don’t just involve alcohol or controlled substances. Drivers must take steps to ensure they are operating their vehicles in a safe manner—and that includes taking into account any medical conditions which may put themselves or others at risk. We hope this sends a clear message to the residents of Washington County that we will take all steps necessary to protect our citizens and hold those who put everyone at risk responsible,” MacLean said.

McBride was taken into custody after he was convicted by the jury and will serve the rest of his time at the Washington County Jail.

Full Victim Impact Statement:

 

I am the wife of Matthew Barbee. We met 19 years ago in Sandy, Utah where we both grew up. We made Oregon our home in 2001 and have three kids. Our son Jaiden is 17, daughter Madeleine is 13, and Ashlin our youngest daughter is 11. We bought our dream farmhouse two years ago just outside of Vernonia after years of hard work. Before the accident, we had a small farm and were in the process of remodeling.

Matt became a police officer 12 years ago and was working for Tigard PD. Before that, and since the age of 15, he worked in grocery. Being a police officer was his life. He got into the career to help people and his job was to respond to 911 calls. He had a talent for talking people down and resolving issues. He worked long hours and any overtime he could to support our family. He was the main financial provider. He was known in the department as being a goofball. He was not your typical police officer. He always looked for the good in people and approached each situation with a positive attitude and willingness to better the lives of all he met. After the accident, everyone that came up to the hospital had a “Matt Story.” He will never realize how much impact he had on all those that came across him or how much he is loved.

On the night of December 14th, our world came crashing down. I cannot even begin to describe the trauma my family went through. We were told that Matt would not live past 48 hours initially due to the extent of his injuries. If he did live, he would likely remain in a vegetative state and be paralyzed. The trauma/impact was instant. My son had to be checked into a facility in Tigard the next day due to depression and I could barely function due to shock. You have already heard of the extent of his injuries, but what you don’t see is the chronic pain Matt is in daily, the inability to ever move his head in any direction for the rest of his life, nerve damage to his shoulder and right arm, loss of strength, the loss of self, his erratic and dangerous behavior due to the brain injury, and the inability to live at home currently.

Due to his traumatic brain injury, he has essentially lost himself. In the brain injury community, this is referred to as a “loss of self.” He wants so badly to step back into his old life but cannot. Occasionally I will see glimpses of the man I have known for 19 years, but there are pieces missing and it is heartbreaking. The kids have had a hard time adjusting to his new personality as have I. We are grateful every single day that he survived, but there is not a day or moment that goes by that I am not reminded of how much we have lost. The grieving is never-ending. My heart often goes searching for the Matt I knew…my best friend, the only person that made me laugh on a daily basis and the love of my life.

We have had two incidents over the last few months due to his brain injury that have caused further trauma to the whole family. My youngest has PTSD, wouldn’t let anyone touch her until a week ago and has been grieving through art – all of her pictures and stories in school and home are about death. She can’t wrap her mind around the fact that her dad is here, but looks, sounds and acts different. My oldest daughter takes her anger and grief out on me and often retreats to her room. My son moved out after one incident that we had because he couldn’t handle how things had changed at home. I went from a family of five, to a family of three in less than a year.

Traumatic brain injuries affect who a person once was and how a family once were. Relationships, family roles and responsibilities change. Interpersonal communication is a serious challenge as well as the whole family dealing with their own myriad of intense feelings of shock, anger, denial and depression. When it comes to a brain injury, we have a living reminder of the loss each day. Living with someone we no longer think we know brings a new world of challenges and trying to keep us all above water is exhausting.

Matt struggles to do everyday things. Since he cannot turn his head, it is likely he will never drive again. It is questionable if he will ever work at any capacity and requires 24/7 care which is currently located out of state. He needs to go to the Brain Injury Recovery Center (BIRC) for months in order to obtain more intense therapy. There is a lot of pressure on me financially to maintain his level of care. Matt continues outpatient rehab and is working hard to improve cognitively – but we have seen little improvement the last six months. He has short term memory issues, no fear response, and cognitively has a long way to go.

After the accident, I had to get rid of all of our farm animals and his dream truck to cut financial burdens. He no longer has his farm, his truck, his mobility, his sense of self or the ability to do the things he loves. Gone are the days of remodeling and police work. He currently spends his days at doctor appointments, lying in bed due to pain or trying to stay on task. When he does do something, he is reminded of how much he has lost as the disability of his neck and head injury are debilitating. He is not even able to live at home because it is a safety risk for the kids at this time.

Given that Matt was the main financial provider, the financial harm this accident has had and will continue to have on my family is detrimental. The lifetime costs for one person to survive a severe traumatic brain injury can reach $4 million. The costs associated with the injury have caused immediate difficulties as we struggle to pay medical bills, a loss of Matt’s income impairs the ability to service debt and in the long term, cognitive problems impact job and wage opportunities dramatically. This is a constant concern of mine daily as I struggle to support my family.

After the accident, I put little thought into Darby McBride. I was too focused on willing Matt to live and holding my family together. I actually had compassion for him at the start. He is only five years older than my son. After hearing that he went to work the next day and had a “I do not care attitude,” reading the police report that clearly demonstrated his lack of remorse, and learning he had may opportunities to change the course of events that night, I now feel different. Especially after seeing his behavior during the trial which was nothing short of disgusting.

Darby knew he had narcolepsy. He was advised by his doctor not to drive unless he was treating his illness, he was advised not to drink, he knew he needed adequate sleep and even stated he often went straight home after work to go to bed, he admitted the last three months his illness got worse, he admitted to smoking marijuana, he declined a ride home from a co-worker and he chose to drink alcohol. This was not the first accident he has been in. In fact, he had crashed his car prior. My husband took every safety measure possible to ensure he was safe while waiting for a tow truck. Darby displayed reckless behavior and blamed everyone and everything for what happened that night. He still has not taken any responsibility or showed remorse. It was just a matter of time before he killed or seriously injured someone.

Darby stated that he wanted a better quality of life and that it was hard to be him. I have an autoimmune disease and know my limits. I take responsible actions as any adult should and every day is a choice. It is a choice. Because of Darby’s choices that night, Matt will now suffer the rest of his life. He has lost his career, his mobility, his sense of self, the option to live pain free, in debt, and without his family. What quality of life is this?

Judge, I implore you to please sentence Darby to the maximum you can in accordance to the law as well as suspend his driver’s license for the maximum as well. I do not think he is remorseful and will be back on the roads acting recklessly again. We have lost so much due to his behavior and choices and I cannot bear the thought of another family going through what we have and will continue to have for the rest of our lives.

Thank you for taking the time to hear this.

 

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

HILLSBORO, Ore.- The Washington County District Attorney’s Office is proudly participating in National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. While most across the county may not realize what a pressing issue human trafficking is, statistics show the illegal trade is thriving in the Portland Metro area.

According to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, there were 79 human trafficking cases reported to authorities in Oregon in 2017. That’s in addition to the nearly 300 calls to various law enforcement agencies to report possible abuse taking place across the state.

In Washington County, the numbers are even more startling. According to Allie Martin of the group Safety Compass, there were 44 cases involving Commercial Sexual Exploitation from March to December of 2018 in Washington County. What’s more, 43 of those cases involved victims under the age of 18.

That’s why authorities across Washington County have combined their resources to create the Washington County Human Trafficking Task Force. This task force helps coordinate sex trafficking investigations and prosecutions, while also providing victims and survivors the resources they need to move forward.

The task force chair, Deputy District Attorney Allison Brown, works closely with law enforcement and community partners to protect victims and hold offenders accountable. 

“The task force has united key players within the county who are dedicated to protecting children and vulnerable victims. While these crimes most often occur in private, this collaboration is essential to combating sex trafficking. Our collaboration has already resulted in multiple victims and offenders being identified within our community,” Brown said of the accomplishments of the task force.

Safety Compass is also a key partner in this initiative. Martin serves as a coordinator for the program and says the collaboration across various agencies is vital to helping put an end to human trafficking.

“Safety Compass is a proud partner on this task force. We know we can be much more effective working as a team to help protect these victims. We have already seen the benefits of this collaboration and know it will only grow over time,” Martin said.

To learn more about resources available to victims and survivors of human trafficking or other crimes, visit the District Attorney’s website.

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

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