By Nicole Montesano • Staff Writer • 

Judge finds Monagon guilty on two counts, acquits on third

Judge John Collins on Friday found Vaughn Monagon guilty of two counts of first-degree sex abuse of a friend of one of his daughters, when the girl was 10 or 11 years old. He acquitted him of a third charge, regarding a second girl, saying that, while he believes the victim was telling the truth, reasonable doubt exists whether the touch in that instance could have been accidental.

First-degree sexual abuse is a Class B felony that falls under mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines. Monagon, 42, a former mortgage broker and church youth leader in McMinnville, has been living in Dayton as the case proceeds. He has been held in the jail on a no-bail hold since being convicted by a jury a week ago of eight other counts, in regard to a third victim.

A sentencing hearing has not yet been scheduled.

The courtroom was silent as Collins explained his ruling, in contrast to the gasps that were heard when the jury verdict was announced.

Collins took about two and a half hours to reach his verdict. He said the majority of that time was spent pondering the third count, because Monagon's guilt in the first two seemed clear to him.

He walked through many of the arguments presented by the defense, explaining for the audience why he agreed with or ultimately rejected them.

The defense took the unusual step of having the first eight counts tried before a jury, and the final three tried before the judge only.

Although Monagon testified in his own defense before the jury, he did not take the stand for the bench trial.

Defense attorney Steve Lindsey complained that the vague nature of the dates given by the victims made preparing a defense difficult. However, Collins noted that the law allows prosecutors to allege a range of dates, because of the nature of the crime. He said that children don't tend to remember specific dates when something happened, and that they don't “magically get those memories back” as adults.

Lindsey asked Collins to find that the prosecution violated rules of discovery by failing to check whether some interviews of the investigating detective had been video recorded, and preserved for trial. However, he agreed to allow Prosecutor Michelle Enfield time to speak with detective Justin James and prepare a written argument for the judge, to be presented after the verdict.

 

 

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