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Michael Forker, 40, also volunteered at the Outside In youth shelter in downtown Portland.

WCSO PHOTO - Michael ForkerAn Aloha resident faces up to 40 years behind bars after he was convicted of sexually abusing a homeless teenager in 2002.

Michael Henry Forker, 40, was convicted by a Washington County jury on July 19 of one count of first-degree sex abuse, five counts of second-degree sex abuse and three counts of first-degree sodomy, according to court records.

The three-day trial was held in the courtroom of Judge Ricardo J. Menchaca.

Forker was previously convicted of encouraging child sex abuse in 2003 when Washington County Sheriff's deputies seized his "vast collection" of child pornography. Detectives suspected he had also abused a young teenager at that time, but could not prove it.

"The victim reported that he could not bring himself to speak up in 2003, but found the courage after learning of these subsequent investigations," the authorities said in a news release. "Forker's now grown victim (has) relived the abuse that has tormented him for a decade and a half."

Prosecutors say the 16-year-old victim was "homeless and vulnerable after a painful experience coming out as homosexual" when Forker befriended him online, and that Forker later moved from Idaho to Aloha to begin sexually abusing him.

Once in Oregon, he also began to volunteer at the Outside In homeless youth shelter in downtown Portland and applied to be residential counselor for teen boys, according to a news release.

Forker is expected to be sentenced in late September of this year.

"This case is another reminder that the victims of child sex crimes often wait to report past abuse," the Washington County District Attorney's office said. "Child sex abuse occurs at a time and place of the abuser's choosing, frequently when there are no other witnesses and physical evidence can be hidden or destroyed."

Child sex abuse can be reported by calling 9-1-1 or by contacting the Oregon Department of Human Services' hotline at 503-681-6917.

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