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Sex abuse case rooted in bitter divorce


Defense hints ex-wifes power play spawned charges against Pacific VP

Allegations of child sex abuse against one of the top officials at Pacific University had their genesis in the midst of an acrimonious divorce and child custody dispute three years ago, court records show.

Documents obtained by the News-Times detail the he-said, she-said nature of the case involving Mike Mallery, vice president of finance and administration at the private Forest Grove school, where he oversees the unversity’s finances and management of capital projects.

He was arrested on a grand jury indictment two weeks ago after turning himself in to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.

Mallery, 48, pleaded not-guilty to all charges at his arraignment Jan. 22. He will stand trial on seven counts of first-degree sexual abuse of two underage family members beginning March 4. Two offenses are said to have occurred in 2010, while the other five stem from 2013. All are Class B felonies carrying minimum prison sentences of six years and three months each under Oregon’s Measure 11, the citizens’ initiative passed in 1994 that established mandatory sentencing guidelines for several crimes.

Tales of alcohol issues, mental breakdowns, marital strife, physical abuse and emotional indifference are replete in the 70 pages of information, which contain interviews of Mike and Sarah Mallery — who divorced in 2011 — and assessments by psychologists, family mediators, polygraph examiners and prosecution and defense lawyers.

Mallery’s attorney Richard Cohen, of Cohen & Coit law firm in Clackamas, wrote in a motion to reduce his client’s bail from $1.75 million to $500,000 — granted by Washington County Circuit Court Judge Eric Butterfield Jan. 24 — that he intends to show during the upcoming trial that the charges against his client stemmed from the unraveling of his marriage between 2009 and 2011.

“The allegations are in part a product of ... emotional abuse,” Cohen wrote. They “initially arose approximately one year after [Sarah Mallery] announced in an email that she needed to create an incident in order to gain power and control” in the couple’s relationship.

Washington County Senior Deputy District Attorney Kevin Barton fought against modifying Mallery’s bail. “This is a child sex abuse case involving two victims,” Barton wrote in a letter dated Jan. 24. “Each victim separately reported to independent witnesses that the defendant sexually abused them ... on multiple occasions when they were 11 years old.”

The 2010 case, referred by Portland police to the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office, was not presented to a grand jury and was never prosecuted.

In May 2013, the Oregon Department of Human Services received a report from a school counselor that a second child had “made consistent statements” regarding sexual abuse by Mallery.

Barton downplayed results of lie-detector tests — arranged by defense attorneys — Mallery took in 2010 and 2013. Both examiners reported he’d told the truth when questioned about the alleged molestations, but Barton wrote in his motion that Cohen would not provide his office with raw data from the polygraphs.

Additionally, Barton said, both investigations “uncovered evidence that the defendant has an alcohol problem” and had been physically abusive ... while under the influence of alcohol.”

A psychosexual evaluation of Mallery, performed in Washington state in November 2011, deemed Mallery to be “a low-risk individual” in terms of his propensity to commit sexual or violent crimes. Barton diminished the significance of that assessment, saying it was “created prior to the discovery of a second victim.”

Meanwhile, Mallery has secured a personal leave from his job at Pacific and is living with his brother in Tillamook after posting bail and leaving the Washington County Jail. His conditional release stipulates that he have no contact with the alleged victims or “anyone under 18 years old”; that he not consume alcohol or drugs; and that he not possess any dangerous weapons.

Mallery was required to turn in his passport to release officer Erin Larsen after leaving jail.