Lawsuit: No Charges in Sex Assault Case Because Police Lost Evidence

A sexual assault case was not prosecuted because either the Bend Police Department or St. Charles Bend lost key evidence that would have proved a woman was drugged before she was assaulted, according to a lawsuit filed on her behalf this week in Deschutes County Circuit Court.

The plaintiff, a former Bend resident, is seeking economic damages of slightly more than $1 million and noneconomic damages of $666,700 in a lawsuit filed this week by Bend attorney Todd Grover. The suit states that prosecutors could not charge the woman’s alleged assailant because of negligent actions by the police department and hospital staff that prevented blood and urine samples from being tested at a state crime lab.

Grover said he could not discuss details of the case, but he has seen a number of similar accounts of negligence nationwide.

The Bulletin does not typically name alleged victims of sexual assault. Because the plaintiff’s alleged attacker has not been charged with a crime, he is also not being named at this time.

According to the suit, the plaintiff attended a Halloween party at the Midtown Ballroom in Bend on Oct. 30, 2015, along with her husband and a group of friends. At some point during the night, someone slipped an unidentified date rape drug into her drink, according to the lawsuit.

She was separated from her husband and friends around 1:30 a.m., and between 1:30 and 2 a.m. she was sexually assaulted by a man who had been hired to assist with security at the event, according to the lawsuit.

The alleged attacker later told police that he had sex with the plaintiff, but it was consensual and she did not seem overly intoxicated, according to the suit.

On Nov. 1, 2015, the plaintiff contacted Bend Police to report the alleged sexual assault. Bend Police officer Jason Poole met with the plaintiff and her husband and suggested she go to St. Charles Bend for a sexual assault examination, according to the lawsuit.

St. Charles employees took multiple blood and urine samples and told the plaintiff some of these samples would be tested by the medical center to help with her care and others would be used by police as evidence in the sexual assault investigation, according to the lawsuit.

Bend Police officer Kevin Uballez picked up some of these samples that night, according to the lawsuit, but the police department later told the plaintiff it never took possession of the samples.

The samples were never sent to a crime laboratory for testing, and Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel decided not to file any criminal charges against her alleged assailant in part because he had no way to prove she was incapacitated and therefore unable to consent. Hummel did not immediately return a voicemail left Tuesday afternoon.

A search for her alleged assailant in Oregon’s online court filings shows no charges have been filed against him.

In August, the plaintiff filed a separate $6 million complaint against her alleged assailant, Midtown Ballroom and Bend Radio Group, which hosted the party.

Both Poole and Uballez are still employed by the Bend Police Department, spokesman Lt. Clint Burleigh said, but he deferred all other questions to the city attorney’s office. Bend City Attorney Mary Winters said the case will be handled by the city’s insurance company, not her office.

“These ones we turn over to our insurance company, and they assign an attorney to cover it,” she said.