Friday, December 7, 2012/lk
The tension and disturbing allegations tied to a five-count indictment for rape and kidnap allegedly committed by Home Valley, Wash., resident and former teacher Donald Stuart McAndie were palpable Tuesday morning in the Hood River courtroom of Judge Paul Crowley.
McAndie appeared via live video feed from NORCOR, as his attorney, Jan Wyers, attempted to request a reduction in the $50,000 bail set during McAndie’s Nov. 29 hearing. McAndie was arrested and charged on Nov. 21 by Hood River City Police Detective Don Cheli.
Wyers also came before Crowley to persuade the court that McAndie was not a flight risk and to request his release from NORCOR into the custody of his older brother, James Duff McAndie, of Goldendale. McAndie is married and has twin sons, but returning to home incarceration was not proposed.
McAndie is charged with rape in the first degree, kidnapping in the first degree, unlawful sexual penetration in the first degree and two counts of sexual abuse. Deputy District Attorney Carrie Rasmussen said in the hearing that the charges stem from an alleged incident in which McAndie is accused of gagging, tying up and raping a woman who provided contracted services to his workplace.
McAndie is a hearing specialist who has been employed in Hood River and The Dalles for the last nine years. McAndie was formerly employed as a high school teacher and soccer coach in Stevenson, Wash.
As the hearing began, Wyers requested a motion to reduce bail for McAndie that was immediately countered by Rasmussen who asked Crowley to deny bail altogether.
Rasmussen then began to declare how new information, some received by her as soon as five minutes before the hearing, indicated McAndie was a great risk to the public.
While Wyers argued that McAndie had no prior arrest record and little motivation to run, Rasmussen focused on the “risk to the public” concern. She based her arguments on the Hood River Police investigation report and documents from Stevenson High School.
Those documents, submitted by the school attorney, provided a history alleging inappropriate physical contact, sexual contact and complaints about use of restraint, made against McAndie. These were filed by female students under his supervision. The file also included a “no touching” agreement, signed by McAndie just prior to his resignation.
Rasmussen also pointed out at least two adults present in the courtroom who were there to offer testimony involving McAndie and alleged sexually inappropriate behavior with teen girls at Stevenson.
According to Rasmussen, one of the women, a former student who provided a deposition to the D.A., reported herself a victim of McAndie’s as a teen.
Another witness, represented in court by her mother, walked into a room on campus (as a teen) and allegedly witnessed McAndie fondling another teen who was tied up in a chair. Multiple other school documented complaints from 1991, 1994, and 2001 included allegations of restraining girls’ hands, wrists or arms with a soccer net or other restraints, and additional inappropriate sexual advances and anger displays.
Wyers stated that even if previous complaints existed in the school setting, McAndie no longer worked there and therefore would not be likely to be a threat, since he would not be in a similar job setting.
Rasmussen responded later that she was concerned that Wyers implied that the school-based problems were “a minimizing factor.” She went to say she would “argue that it is an aggravating factor” in assessing McAndie’s risk to the public.
“He was in an arena with enhanced supervision and had signed a no-touching contract, yet he continued to be unable to control his behavior after agreeing to do so in the presence of witnesses,” said Rasmussen.
Wyers also argued for release of his client into his brother’s keeping, bringing James “Duff” McAndie, 56, to the stand. According to his statements, Duff McAndie testified that he felt he could provide adequate supervision for his brother and that his elder status and their shared history would suffice in securing Don McAndie’s safe supervision in his home where he works as an online salesman, a house shared with his wife and teen son.
Wyers then asked if the two had been in physical altercations growing up. Duff replied they had been. Wyers asked if Duff was intimidated, either physically or psychologically, by his brother. He said, “Not at all.” Duff went on to say that at the point when he was 15 years old, the brothers determined “we’d either kill each other or we’d better stop” fighting.
Wyers then asked if the defendant regularly “confided in” his brother. Duff answered, “Absolutely.”
Rasmussen then followed up, asking if Don had ever confided in Duff that “he liked to tie up young women.” Duff answered, “No.”
Rasmussen proceeded, asking if Don had told Duff about the complaints filed by the female teens at the high school.
Duff responded that he was only aware of three incidents in 2001.
Rasmussen clarified, “You were aware of three incidents in 2001?” Duff affirmed, “Three, right.” Rasmussen then made it clear that Duff’s revelation indicated additional incidents might have occurred beyond those she was already aware of.
Don McAndie came under oath and was questioned on the current case details with both Wyers and Rasmussen attempting to establish the nature of the relationship between McAndie and the identified victim prior to the alleged rape and kidnapping.
Both attorneys asked for details on flowers sent and phone contacts made by McAndie to the victim. McAndie confirmed he had sent flowers and cards and had participated in phone calls and text messaging.
Rasmussen then presented testimony, given by McAndie to Detective Cheli upon arrest, noting that McAndie told Cheli that the victim “did not want to be pursued.” Rasmussen later referred to information obtained using a search warrant on McAndie that included the seizure of a bag containing a gag and other items related to the charges.
After deliberating on Wyers’ request for a bail reduction and release, and Rasmussen’s request for pre-trail denial of bail and continued incarceration, Crowley provided the courtroom with the legal precedents guiding his decision.
The current charges against McAndie all fall under the Oregon Measure 11 sentencing regulations, which provides for higher bail limits and significantly increased penalties upon conviction. Measure 11 attempts to ensure public safety by setting minimum mandatory sentences for certain serious and violent crimes.
Prior to issuing his ruling, Crowley, stating extreme concern, referred back to McAndie’s previous, documented improper contact with students. He also reiterated McAndie’s own statement to Cheli after arrest when asked if the victim had agreed to be tied up, to which McAndie responded, “I wouldn’t say she wanted to be tied up ...”
Crowley reflected on McAndie’s inability to take responsibility for himself and his actions adding, “I do have concerns over his ability to comply with the law.”
Crowley set bail at $100,000 cash bail, saying that this would require McAndie, and whoever was posting bail, to be at significant financial risk.
Wyers argued that McAndie had signed over his home to his wife upon arrest and that she would not be willing, given the nature of the charges, to mortgage the house. Crowley did not change his decision.
If released, McAndie will be required to be under electronic home monitoring. McAndie’s next court date was set for Jan. 14 at 11 a.m. in Hood River Circuit Court.