By editorial board • 

Abuse occurs in the unlikeliest of settings

When families worry about protecting loved ones from abusers, manipulators and molesters, they probably think of people like Christopher Enyart.

A serial abuser of young boys, freed after serving 10 years on a previous conviction, he was featured atop last Friday’s front page after being sentenced to a life term. He leered and smirked in court, infuriating families of his latest victims.

But the challenge posed by people accused of taking behind-the-scenes advantage of authority, trust and standing may well be greater. It certainly produces farther-reaching ripples.

Two examples, both still in the unproven accusation stage, adorned recent front pages.

On Jan. 23, news broke of the arrest of 41-year-old mortgage broker and church leader Vaughn Monagon on four counts of first-degree sexual abuse, a Measure 11 felony. A former Biggest Turkey winner, he boasted a leadership history in the Nazarene Church on the Hill and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. And on Jan. 30, a second accuser emerged, producing two more counts.

On Feb. 2, six counts of third-degree sex abuse were lodged against Newberg insurance agent Benjamin Jaquith, the Chehalem Chamber of Commerce’s 2017 Business Person of the Year. Involving adult women rather than children, they carry misdemeanor rather than felony status. He allegedly offered his victims written apologies, blaming transgressions on his drinking.

Sadly, such cases aren’t as rare as it might seem. News-Register archives feature numerous examples, including:

n McMinnville businessman and civic leader Robert Smiley, who pleaded to two child pornography counts, one involving a child rape video. His credentials included a McMinnville City Council run, Lions Club presidency, county planning commission stint and chamber leadership term.

n Chemeketa administrator Patrick Lanning, 48-year-old head of the college’s McMinnville campus and top choice for the Central Oregon Community College presidency, whose career was derailed by accusations he raped a drunken female subordinate.

n Neil Goldschmidt, former Portland mayor, Oregon governor and federal secretary of transportation, whose career collapsed under the weight of an alleged 13-year affair with a former babysitter. She said he took her down to the basement for oral sex in their first encounter, occurring during her 14th birthday party, when she was still in eighth grade.

n Kerry Smith, 40-year-old Carlton Elementary School hiree, arrested in connection with an affair with a 17-year-old student at his former posting in Albany. The married father of five was arrested over the weekend before a scheduled Monday start.

n Mac High Principal Sean Burke, a former teacher, coach and athletic director, who resigned after a former student alleged a long ago affair and produced a keepsake photo from a California motel room as evidence.

n Kevin Kayfes, longtime local teacher and coach, sent to prison in 2004 on rape, sodomy and sex abuse convictions involving a 16-year-old student.

The roster from our archives is rife with teachers, coaches, physicians, priests, Scout leaders and church leaders, suggesting churches, schools, clinics and youth programs run particular risks, so must exercise particular vigilance.

We owe it to our children — and their children.
 

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