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New Portland Chief Mike Marshman says 10-year-old alleged assault of stepson was untrue

NICK BUDNICK - Mayor Charlie Hales on Monday named a new police chief, Mike Marshman (left). At right is Oregon U.S. Attorney Billy Williams. Update: A newer article provides documented details of the allegation against Marshman and why no charges were filed.

New Portland Police Chief Chief Mike Marshman was investigated in 2006 for allegedly assaulting his teenage stepson.

Marshman plans to release the report on the incident as well as his entire personnel file next week "as a show of faith in the community." But he discussed the time he was criminally investigated after being asked about it by the Portland Tribune on Thursday. "Being a chief, you get an extra level of scrutiny so it makes sense to me."

In 2006 the Portland Police Bureau received a report that Marshman had assaulted his stepson, who at the time of the report was 20. At the time of the incident, Marshman had been living in Sauvie Island with his first wife and her son.

The report was submitted to the bureau after their December 2005 divorce, and well after the incident. According to an informed source, the stepson and his mother told police that incident had taken place four years earlier, when the stepson was 16 or 17. The stepson said that Marshman choked him, also ramming his head into the wall hard enough to break the dry wall. Neither the mother nor anyone else witnessed the incident.

Marshman says the account is not true. The way he remembers it his stepson was 19 or 20 at the time and in college, and they were arguing, presumably about how his marriage had become "rocky." Marshman says he grabbed his stepson by his shirt and rammed him up against the wall, with no loss of consciousness. Any dent in the wall was made by his shoulder blades, Marshman says.

He says his stepson, who he called "volatile," was yelling expletives and Marshman thought he might throw a punch.

"We got into an argument," Marshman recalled. "I grabbed his shirt, I believe, and pressed him up against the wall in the house. I tell him to calm down. He calms down."

Marshman's ex-wife and former stepson declined to comment for this article.

Karen Mack, who investigated the incident for the bureau at the time, declined to discuss the incident or whether she was assigned to the child abuse team at the time. That assignment would have indicated the report said the stepson was a minor when the incident occurred. "I have no comment. I'm retired," Mack said.

Marshman's recollection of the age of his then-stepson at the time of the incident doesn't appear to jibe with the rest of his recollection, that he was still married at the time.

More details could be forthcoming soon. Marshman intends to produce the report as early as Tuesday, after it is retrieved from archives.

Marshman, who was a sergeant when the incident was reported to the bureau, says bureau criminal investigators surprised him one day unannounced, asking to talk to him about the incident. He declined to cooperate.

"I said 'Wow, I'm surprised, I'm not ready to talk at this time,'" he says.

He says he was never again contacted by investigators seeking a criminal interview, and no charges were filed.

Later he was investigated by internal affairs, and gave an interview with them. Officers are required to cooperate with internal affairs, unlike in criminal investigations.

According to Marshman, the IA investigation came back with a finding of "unproven." But records of it have been purged, according to bureau spokesman Pete Simpson.

"Obviously, it's an unfortunate incident," Marshman says. "I wish it never happened." He says he hopes both his ex-wife and former stepson have moved on.

Marshman also confirmed rumors of an incident in which, as a relatively new police officer two decades ago, he used his lights to pull over an ex-girlfriend who he wanted to talk to. "In hindsight, it was a stupid way to do it," he says.

She apparently complained about it to the bureau, and a sergeant gave him a talking-to.

Retired Capt. C.W. Jensen, who worked with Marshman in the late 1990s, says he pulled over ex-girlfriends, too, and "I would say that wasn't uncommon" back then. Generally speaking, Jensen argues that "If someone gets through their career and doesn't have a few bumps along the way, they haven't worked very hard."