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Mallery sobs on stand at sex abuse trial

Pacific University administrator Michael Mallery wept openly on the witness stand Wednesday morning when his defense attorney asked him if he was upset about not being able to visit two young relatives — now aged 11 and 15 — he is accused of molesting.

“It’s great to see them, even if it’s in a courtroom,” Mallery responded, sobbing, grabbing tissues and wiping tears from his face.

The 48-year-old took the stand Tuesday afternoon and again Wednesday morning, March 11 and 12, during the third and fourth days of his trial in Washington County Circuit Court in Hillsboro. He is charged with seven counts of first-degree sex abuse stemming from incidents that allegedly occurred in 2010 and 2013.

On Tuesday, Senior Deputy District Attorney Kevin Barton rested the prosecution’s case and the defense began calling its list of witnesses, with Mallery up first. When asked by his attorney, Robert Cohen of Cohen & Coit law firm in Clackamas, “At any time in December 2010 did you have (one of the girls) on your lap and place your hand on her breast?” he answered with an unequivocal “No.”

“At any time in her life have you placed your hand on her breast?”

“No.”

Mallery, 48, is on leave from his position as vice-president of finance and administration at Pacific. He claimed Wednesday that when officials from the state Department of Human Services (DHS) and the police came to his door Dec. 22, 2010, after one of the girls accused him of inappropriate touching, “I almost went into shock at the time.” He repeatedly asserted that he has never touched either of the girls in a sexual manner.

He described activities with the children, from playing catch to walks on the beach, as happy times. He noted that they loved to play “I Spy” and “Zert” and that he often took them fishing. One day in late 2009 or early 2010, he said, he noticed an abrasion on the eldest child’s arm. “They were more like scratches,” he said.

The marks became more pronounced that summer, after a trip to Yellowstone National Park, when the older girl had an argument with her mom, Mallery said. There were a couple dozen cut marks on her forearm, about two to three inches long, he said.

“I voiced concerns,” Mallery said, “and [the girl’s mother] and I talked about it a lot.” He said he spoke with Bridget P. Gessler, a psychiatric nurse practitioner with Mind Matters, P.C. of Beaverton, about the matter.

Gessler testified that she was the first person to whom the older girl reported the alleged sexual touching that occurred in December 2010. She said the girl reported that she and Mallery “played a game called ‘I Spy,’ where she lies down, and she reported he touched her breast twice. He put his hand down her shirt.” Gessler added that the girl denied the touch was due to hugging or tickling. She also noted the child specifically stated it happened in a chair.

On cross examination, Senior Deputy District Attorney Kevin Barton asked Mallery, “Do you ever hot-tub naked?”

“Yes, I have.”

Barton then asked about Mallery’s use of a hot tub at a Pacific City beach house. “Have you hot-tubbed naked at the beach house with either of (the girls) present?”

“No,” Mallery said, although he later clarified that “When they were little kids, I have.” Mallery guessed the oldest child was about 8 years old the last time this occurred and added that the girls’ mother and brother also participated.

Barton also questioned Mallery about several of the counselors he and the girls had seen and attempted to establish that Mallery favored one counselor while the girls’ mother favored another — and that Mallery had refused to attend counseling sessions with the counselor preferred by the girls’ mother.

On Wednesday morning Mallery repeatedly stated the children’s mother, Sarah Haggerty, knew about the hot-tubbing practice. Haggerty took the stand Wednesday afternoon, with attorneys for the prosecution and defense questioning her about Mallery’s drinking habits and whether he had ever threatened her.

When Mallery was intoxicated, Haggerty told Cohen, “He was dangerous and I was afraid for my safety.”

The jury was not in the room when Cohen showed Haggerty an email from several years ago in which she had written she intended to ambush Mallery with “an episode.”

Judge Kohl ruled the email -- which potentially highlights Haggerty’s movements to limit the time Mallery was allowed to visit with the alleged victims -- inadmissable as evidence. The jury will not be able to review it.

The News-Times has previously reported the existence of the email, references to which are contained in public records.

Haggerty acknowledged sending the email, which read in part, “My main plan … is to have him hauled away. While he is gone, the restraining order card is my only card to keep my kids safe.”

When Haggerty eventually secured a restraining order, Cohen noted, it did not say Mallery was threatening her or that he had been abusive.

Another witness, Dr. Harry Dudley, a psychologist in private practice in Vancouver, Wash., testified with the jury out of the courtroom that the older child had reported to him she “largely felt safe” around Mallery.

“Her concern was not of any type of sexually inappropriate behavior,” Dudley told Cohen. “Her main concern was one about drinking.”

The trial continues Thursday morning.



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