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 2018, Jamie Worley, a pastor at Powell Valley Church in Gresham, Oregon, was convicted of numerous sex-crime charges.
Garrett Andrews, a reporter for The Bulletin writes (behind paywall):
When Jamie Worley’s attorney made his closing argument, last week, he told jurors only one of two things could be true: Either his client’s accuser had created her story, or that Worley was indeed the “monster” portrayed by the prosecution.
Wednesday afternoon in Deschutes County Circuit Court, the jury provided the answer.
James Daniel “Jamie” Worley, 45, a Gresham pastor and onetime Bend resident, was found guilty of seven sex-related felonies against a former family member in a case that stretches back six years and involves abuse that took place around the turn of the millennium.
The jury was unable to reach a verdict on eight other counts. Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel said his office will decide in the next few days whether or not to try Worley again on those charges.
The verdict shocked Worley and the family and friends who packed the courtroom. A jury in an earlier, related case in Tillamook County had found Worley not guilty on several charges, and deadlocked on others.
In casual exchanges this month around the Deschutes County Courthouse, Worley expressed cautious optimism he’d again be found not guilty. He wanted to move on with his life, he said.
None of the six men and six women seemed to look at Worley as they filed past him on Wednesday.
“Why?” a red-faced and tearful Worley asked himself repeatedly after the verdict was read. He said it looking toward the ceiling with his hands turned up. He said it again as he looked at the jurors who spent four weeks hearing evidence and four days deliberating.
Worley was originally arrested in 2014, based on accusations made two years earlier. The family member described abuse that took place between 2002 and 2004, when Worley and his then-wife lived in Bend.
Following Wednesday’s verdict, Worley’s current wife, Joanne, said the family hasn’t given up. “He is innocent,” she said multiple times. “There is so much the jury didn’t get to hear.”
After the verdict was read, Worley’s distraught mother, Connie Worley, startled the courtroom. She pointed at Judge Beth Bagley as she was leaving, wagging her finger.
“You,” Connie Worley said. “You.”
A May 1, 2018 report in The Bulletin states:
Former Gresham pastor James Daniel “Jamie” Worley was sentenced to 12½ years in prison Monday in Deschutes County Circuit Court for sexually abusing a family member when he lived in Bend in the early 2000s, when his victim was between age 5 and 7.
Worley’s recent trial lasted four weeks before a jury returned guilty verdicts on March 14.
The drama on Monday came down to whether Judge Beth M. Bagley would choose to run three 75-month sentences concurrently — as the defense had asked — or consecutively, as the prosecution asked.
Bagley said that despite an expert witness who testified Worley represented a low level of risk to the community, the pain he caused his victim needed to be addressed in her sentence.
“We as a society say child sexual abuse is intolerable,” she said.
Bagley ultimately gave Worley two consecutive 75-month sentences, with the third to run concurrently.
Worley, 45, was additionally given 10 years post-prison supervision during which the only children he may spend time with are his own.
He also now owes about $20,000 as a result of this case. He was ordered Monday to pay $12,000 in compensation to his victim for the therapy she’ll undertake as a result of the abuse.
Worley’s conviction was later overturned. He was subsequently retried, entering an Alford plea to one count of misdemeanor harassment.
Following an assist by the U.S. Supreme Court, a onetime Bend resident remains a guilty man, but one no longer guilty of child sex abuse.
In a short hearing Monday in Deschutes County Circuit Court, James Daniel “Jamie” Worley, 48, pleaded guilty by Alford plea to one count of misdemeanor harassment, having once faced more than 30 counts of child rape.
In an Alford plea, a defendant accepts responsibility for a crime without admitting guilt.
Worley’s plea deal includes no jail time. Harassment is a Class B misdemeanor and as such, he won’t have to register as a sex offender. He was ordered to have no contact with the victim for three years.
A $12,000 fine imposed at his last trial, which he has paid, remained in place.
In March 2018, a jury convicted Worley of seven sex-related felonies against a child, and he was sentenced to 12 years in prison. He appealed his conviction on the basis of the unconstitutionality of nonunanimous jury verdicts.
That April, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its decision in Ramos v. Louisiana, striking down nonunanimous jury laws in Oregon and Louisiana and sending back hundreds of cases for re-trial, including Worley’s.
Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel opted to re-try him, maintaining he believed Worley was guilty.
Hummel spoke out against Oregon’s nonunanimous jury law in an article about the law and the Worley case in The New York Times. In the same article, Worley professed his innocence: “I did not do these things. What more can I say than I didn’t?” he’s quoted as saying.
The allegations against Worley were first made in late 2012 and concerned abuse said to have taken place in the early 2000s, when Worley and the victim lived in Deschutes County.
In 2014, he was indicted by a Deschutes County grand jury, charged with more than 30 counts of child rape. He was arrested at his home in Gresham, where he worked as a pastor.
The trial was delayed by a different trial with the same victim in Tillamook County, where Worley’s family had also lived. The jury there ultimately found him not guilty of several charges and deadlocked on others.
Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.
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