Longtime Forest Grove attorney charged with 13 counts of criminal mistreatment

Former municipal court judge and longtime land-use attorney Bob Browning of Forest Grove pleaded "no contest" last week to 13 counts of first-degree criminal mistreatment.

According to Oregon's Department of Justice, Browning moved more than $80,000 into his bank account from the accounts of his mother and former mother-in-law, both of whom had dementia and were in care facilities at the time. Both women have since died.

According to DOJ spokesman Jeff Manning, Browning's mother-in-law "died penniless" in 2010 and owed $50,000 to her care facility after Browning transferred all her assets to himself.

Browning had power of attorney for both women, but the money he removed from their accounts was not spent on their care.

Browning maintains his innocence and said recently he did not plead no contest because he is guilty, but in order to reserve the right to appeal.

Browning said a visiting judge ruled early in the process that he could not present evidence as to his "intent" for the money, "nor can I provide evidence as to the amounts paid back."

The way the law is currently written, Browning said, anyone who receives money from a senior, but does not spend it on the senior’s care, would be guilty of criminal mistreatment even if it's a grandchild receiving money as a Christmas present.

"I've still not had my day in court," he said.

David Rich, Brown’s court-appointed attorney, refused to talk to the News-Times about Browning’s case.

Manning declined to comment on Browning’s statements.The DOJ helped prosecute the case because it was so complex, he said.

Browning's sentencing is scheduled for May 31.

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