By Jeb Bladine • President / Publisher • 

Jeb Bladine: Headlines reveal more sex crimes

She was 15 and he had just turned 18. There was sexual contact. Suddenly, his young life is threatened with prosecution and a potential lifetime labeling as a sex offender.

That unreported local story populates one end of a soaring spectrum of sexual crime reports. A growing number of local and statewide headlines reveals numerous disturbing levels of sexual offenses.

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Jeb Bladine is president and publisher of the News-Register.

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Consider these News-Register stories from only six weeks in 2019:

Andrew Darby of Newberg is sentenced to 30 years in prison for rape and sodomy of minors as young as 7; Earl Woods, multiple convicted felon, draws 36 years for rape, sexual abuse and other offenses; Brett Dumbrow, 25, who reportedly enjoyed exercising control over his victims, is sentenced to 58 months in prison after pleading guilty to attempted first-degree rape and sodomy.

And the local stories continue:

Modeling photographer Robert Koester is jailed in California and charged in Yamhill County in connection with dozens of alleged sex crimes involving minor and young adult women; Kody Fischer, 21, pleads guilty to sedating and sexually assaulting a 15-year-old.

Jason Moore of Idaho awaits extradition to Yamhill County on charges alleging the 2016 sexual abuse of a boy under 12; Newberg civic leader Ben Jaquith lands in Yamhill County jail for 60 days, with 60 months of probation to follow, after entering a no-contest plea to allegations of unwanted sexual contact with five women.

Some believe a changing culture is spurring more reporting of sexual crimes. Amy Beard, executive director of the Sexual Assault Resource Center in Beaverton, was quoted last year on the increase in Oregon rape reports:

“The way that we talk about survivors and we think about trauma is definitely changing … We’re more willing to talk about sexual assault and the effect that it has on people. And there’s more of a conversation happening around why people don’t report for so long and why it’s so hard to come forward.”

FBI statistics show rape reports jumped 10.5 percent between 2016 and 2017. And more increases are expected, according to Beard, citing statistics that “one in four women and one in six men experience sexual assault before the age of 18.”

Locally, we witness a rising tide of sexual crimes. But Marion and Lane counties rank highest in sex offenses per 100,000. Salem, the Statesman-Journal reported last year, “has almost twice as many sex crimes reported per capita as the Portland metro area.”

More crimes, or just increased reporting? Likely, both, revealing the underbelly of a slightly sick society.

 Jeb Bladine can be reached at jbladine@newsregister.com or 503-587-1223.

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