The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.
In 2015, Michael Sperou, pastor of North Clackamas Bible Community (previously named Southeast Bible Church) in Happy Valley, Oregon, was convicted on three counts of first-degree sexual penetration of a child under twelve and sentenced to twenty years in prison. In 2019, the Oregon Supreme Court:
ordered a new trial for Sperou after concluding that witnesses had improperly referred to the accuser as a victim. The court found that the reference may have undermined Sperou’s presumption of innocence and affected his right to a fair trial.
Last Friday, Sperou was convicted a second time.
Michael Sperou was convicted by a jury Friday on two counts of first-degree unlawful sexual penetration.
The victim was under the age of 12 when the assaults occurred on two separate occasions between 1993 and 1996, according to investigators.
The district attorney’s office states the members gathered and lived among rental homes they shared and, as part of its evidence presentation, the state reported Sperou had a sexual interest in children; that he allowed minors to spend time with him in his bed; that he provided alcohol to minors; that he emotionally and financially manipulated church members; that he abused alcohol; and controlled nearly every aspect of church members lives, including how they raised their children.
Two other women testified in court that Sperou had sexually assaulted them while they were children in the church, but prosecutors said the statute of limitation has passed in those cases.
Sperou’s congregants still believe he is an innocent man. Of course, they do. (News story from Sperou’s first trial reveals the steadfast devotion of his fellow church members.