Multnomah County District Attorney Rod Underhill announced that following lengthy pretrial negotiations 32-year-old Jared Walter changed his plea in Multnomah County Circuit Court and received a sentence that includes jail time, probation and the requirement to undergo mental health and sex offender treatment.
Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Ryan accepted the guilty plea and convicted Walter of two counts of interfering with public transportation and two counts of harassment. Walter received 364 days in jail and five years of probation.
Walter was charged with quickly and lightly touching the side of one victim’s chest under her arm and the upper thigh of a second victim. One of the victims told police that she felt a man, later identified as Walter, sitting close to her. She inched forward to create separation. Shortly thereafter, the woman told police that she felt the man’s hand touching her upper thigh through her coat pocket. The woman told police she believed Walter was attempting to steal a lighter in her pocket so she stood up and activated the train’s emergency call button.
The other woman told police that the touching was so innocuous in the moment that she was initially unaware of it being a suspicious act. She only realized it may have been criminal after she saw a post about Walter’s arrest on social media and became concerned.
Both women agree with the plea agreement and the decision to dismiss the previously charged counts of sexual abuse in the third degree, a Class A misdemeanor, in light of the sentence imposed by the court.
“I support the resolution because of the protection measures that are going to be in place. I am thankful for all of the work that everybody has done to get this case taken care of. I’m thankful for the ban [Walter] has on TriMet, and the stipulations in place that say he can’t go near platforms. That all makes me feel good because I still rely on public transportation. I actually feel more comfortable now because we don’t have to go to trial,” one of the victim’s said.
“This was a carefully negotiated case that took into account many different factors. We worked very closely with the victims, Transit Police Division and TriMet management to determine whether or not resolving this case was appropriate. Everyone involved in this case supports this highly structured plea agreement that holds Mr. Walter accountable. The ultimate goal of this sentence is to effect a change in behavior and to ensure the safety of our community,” said Multnomah County Deputy District Attorney Eric Zimmerman, who prosecuted this case.
Walter, who is already a registered sex offender, must continue to adhere to the lifetime TriMet exclusion, which was imposed in April. It was ordered that he not trespass on TriMet property without the permission of the Court, his probation officer and TriMet. Furthermore, Walter is not allowed to loiter within 50 feet of any TriMet stop or station.
If, while on probation, he has inappropriate contact either verbal or physical, with any TriMet employee or patron, Walter could be found in violation of his probation. If he violates any part of his probation, the court can impose up to an additional two years in jail.
Upon his release from jail, the court has agreed to conduct regular judicial reviews with Walter. During these reviews, the probation officer will provide detailed updates on Walter’s status on supervision.
Walter has agreed to write an apology letter to all of the victims associated with this case.
If determined to be appropriate, Walter’s probation officer can order GPS monitoring and geographical restrictions.
The Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office recognizes the Transit Police Division, the Portland Police Bureau, and TriMet for their dedicated efforts investigating this case.
Source: Multnomah County District Attorney