Ex-officer faces trial on charges involving teenager

MEDFORD — The case of a former Medford police officer accused of threatening a wayward teenager with a stun gun is scheduled to go before a Jackson County jury Wednesday.

Travis Henson, 36, faces charges of first-degree official misconduct and menacing, stemming from allegations he threatened to shoot a juvenile runaway in the eye with a Taser last spring.

Each misdemeanor charge carries a maximum penalty of one year in county jail and a $6,250 fine (see correction below), said Jackson County District Attorney Mark Huddleston.

Court records show a jury of six will be asked to hear the state's case against Henson in what is expected to be a two-day trial in Jackson County Circuit Court.

Henson was placed on administrative leave soon after the May 28, 2007 incident. He resigned from the department in October, before the completion an internal investigation and before the department informed him of any disciplinary measures he may have faced.

Medford police Chief Randy Schoen has declined to say if Henson would have been fired or simply received a reprimand for the incident. Schoen said he didn't want the police department's internal affairs' findings to sway a jury in the court case.

Henson allegedly threatened the 15-year-old after apprehending him twice in a 12-hour period.

The teen had fled the Jackson County Juvenile Justice Center. The alleged mistreatment occurred during the second trip to the center, officials said.

The criminal case was handled by Oregon State Police and reviewed by Douglas County Deputy District Attorney Colin Benson.

Huddleston referred prosecution of Henson's case to the Douglas County attorney to avoid a conflict of interest.

Henson joined the department in July 2003, following a stint in the Oregon State Police after graduating from Eagle Point High School.

In addition, Henson is a commissioned senior reserve officer with the U.S. Coast Guard. He worked on patrols off Cuba between May 2004 and January 2005.

Schoen lamented the loss of a good officer, but said the department cannot allow anyone to compromise the public's trust in the agency.

Reach reporter Sanne Specht at 776-4497 or e-mail sspecht@mailtribune.com.

Correction: A previous version of this story included an incorrect amount of fine that can apply to these charges. This version has been corrected.

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