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February 1st, 2012 COREY PEIN | Cops and Courts
 

Busted Ranks

New allegations from a former vice cop about the top brass.

news3-pornland_3813WW Photo Illustration
A former vice cop is making new allegations of retaliation, lying and backbiting in the highest ranks of the Portland Police Bureau—after he gave a series of interviews about the city’s failure to crack down on sex trafficking.

Former Sgt. Doug Justus abruptly retired from the bureau a year ago. A federal lawsuit he filed Jan. 12 casts Justus as a whistle-blower wrongfully terminated for speaking publicly about the city’s failures in sex-trafficking cases, and who suffered retaliation and defamation by bureau managers even after he left the force. He’s seeking $2.5 million.

The suit raises serious questions whether one of the city’s top vice cops was punished for going off script when talking to the media about one of the most publicized crime issues of recent years—the city’s sex trade. 

But now no one is talking. Justus agreed to be interviewed by WW, but his new attorney, Charese Rohny, later said she didn’t think it would be in his best interest. City and Police Bureau officials also declined to comment.

Justus, 56, claims his problems began in the spring of 2010, when a crew from HDNet’s Dan Rather Reports came to town. Justus gave the former CBS News anchor an interview about child sex trafficking and a tour of Portland strip clubs.  

After “Pornland, Oregon,” aired on HDNet that May, Justus alleges, he learned the interview had made the city’s new police chief, Mike Reese, and Mayor Sam Adams “very upset.” 

Justus on HDNet

Justus was reassigned, and he alleges police brass accused him of having a drinking problem and abusing prescription drugs. He says neither is true.

He later appeared on ABC’s Nightline and America’s Most Wanted. Justus was also quoted in a 2010 Seattle Times story critical of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Portland for failing to protect an 18-year-old prostitute who disappeared only weeks after testifying against her pimp before a federal grand jury.

In the summer of 2010, his suit says, Justus persuaded the mayor’s office to agree to spend $5,000 for a vice investigators’ conference in Portland. Adams gave a speech thanking Justus, and announced plans to double the size of the vice unit and to build a shelter for trafficking victims. 

The next day, the suit alleges, Reese accused Justus of “going behind his back.”

All this led to an internal affairs investigation—its scope is unclear—and Justus’ demotion to patrol car duty. 

According to Justus’ suit, Assistant Chief Eric Hendricks told him that “no matter what” the investigation showed, “you will be transferred to the central graveyard shift as a street sergeant where you will spend the rest of your career.”

Justus retired in January 2011. 

The lawsuit hints the intrigue didn’t stop there. Justus says he soon landed an $80,000-a-year security job at Oregon Health and Sciences University. A month before he was to start, Justus alleges OHSU’s assistant chief of public safety, Vicky Stormo, revoked the offer. Stormo allegedly told Justus she’d learned something that disqualified him for the job, but she wouldn’t say what. 

OHSU officials declined to answer WW’s questions.

Who got the OHSU job? Justus claims it went to Stan Grubbs, a retired assistant chief at the bureau and, Justus alleges, a close friend of Hendricks’, the assistant chief he says threatened him. 

 
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