A former Woodburn police officer pleaded guilty to three counts of first-degree misconduct for repeatedly engaging in sexual relations while on duty.
Timothy Cobos, who has been working with Woodburn police since 2006, was sentenced to 18 months of bench probation and 40 hours of community service after pleading guilty to engaging in sexual activity while on duty with at least two women over the past two years.
Woodburn Chief of Police Jim Ferraris said Cobos’ conduct does not reflect the department’s ideals.
“This is a tragedy, it’s sad for our department and sad for our community,” Ferraris said. “The key here is transparency and accountability. We believe in holding our people accountable for their actions.”
Ferraris said the investigation into Cobos’ conduct was sparked by a citizen complaint. The investigation showed Cobos had repeatedly engaged in sexual activity while on duty, including in his patrol vehicle, with at least two women.
One of the women had Cobos use police equipment, including software called COPLINK, to access data on people and cases.
“I thought I’d seen it all, but I was wrong,” Ferraris said while reading a statement on behalf of Woodburn Police to the court. “He now meets the definition of a corrupt cop.”
Ferraris read a series of text messages Cobos sent to the women while he was under investigation by Woodburn Police. He repeatedly advised the women to be vague if questioned by investigators. At one point he said told the women to claim they were just “friends from college” if asked about their relationship.
“You can’t be forced to talk,” Cobos said in one text message.
Cobos said the investigation was a “witch hunt” based on a baseless complaint sent to his department, according to text messages.
Cobos’ attorney, James McIntyre, said Cobos’ conduct was born from years of being “eroded” by the years of witnessing traumatic events during his service as a police officer.
“That’s what happened with Officer Cobos,” McIntyre said. “Those things can have long term emotional effects. That can cause people to give up the values they had in the first place.”
McIntyre said Cobos would not have engaged in the conduct ten years ago, but the job of being an officer damaged his life and ideals.
Marion County Deputy District Attorney Paige Clarkson, however, said Cobos’ conduct was a breach of the community’s trust.
“To see an anomaly like this is disappointing,” Clarkson said. “In no way is this representative of how police should work and how they do work in our community.”
Cobos voluntarily resigned from his position at Woodburn Police and decertified, which means he will not be allowed to be a police officer in the state of Oregon.
He will have until April 26, 2018 to complete the 40 hours of community service.