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Forest Grove police chaplain charged with sexual harassment

Officials say the incident is unrelated to Rick Sacks' volunteer post with local police and fire agencies

Forest Grove police on Wednesday arrested their chaplain, Rick Sacks, on charges of sexual harassment.

Sacks, 54, is accused of the 'offensive physical touching' of a member of his Forest Grove church in early December.

Forest Grove police are not releasing the name of the 23-year-old victim. Forest Grove Police Chief Glenn VanBlarcom said only that she was "vulnerable."

Sacks turned himself in to Forest Grove police on Wednesday and was charged with two counts of sexual harassment, a Class A misdemeanor. He was booked this morning at Washington County jail.

'I was very upset," VanBlarcom said. "I work in an arena of public trust. He was in the same arena, and that (trust) got violated, and to someone who was vulnerable. And that truly, truly upset me."

Sacks had been the chaplain for both the police and fire departments in Forest Grove since February 2001. He was a volunteer who received no compensation except occasional training. His primary duties were counseling staff members and consoling people involved in traumatic situations.

Sacks, who lives in Forest Grove, had no previous criminal record, VanBlarcom said.

According to a police statement, Sacks met with VanBlarcom on Dec. 11 and confessed to the 'inappropriate' touching of the victim.

He was immediately removed from his post and an investigation was launched, VanBlarcom said. The chief said the investigation included multiple interviews and 'an extensive, long-term evaluation" of the allegations.

"We had to go forward and investigate this as we would with anyone else," he said.