Medford civic leader charged

Medford civic leader charged

(See correction note below)
A prominent Medford businessman and well-known civic volunteer was arraigned in Clackamas County Circuit Court Wednesday afternoon on two charges of online sexual corruption of a minor.

Kelly Ray Rasmussen, vice president of Jackson Travel in Medford, was released on his own recognizance, court officials said.

Rasmussen, 47, was cited Tuesday in Clackamas County on nine felony charges alleging sexual corruption of a minor and luring a minor. He was arraigned on only two charges of sexual corruption. (See correction note below)

He was held in Clackamas County Jail on $155,000 bail prior to Wednesday's arraignment, said Clackamas County Sheriff Craig Roberts.

Roberts said Rasmussen began communicating online with a law enforcement officer who was posing as a 13-year-old girl back in July. Rasmussen also began communicating online with an officer posing as an 11-year-old girl in September, Roberts said.

Rasmussen traveled to Portland on Monday and stayed at a downtown hotel, a sheriff's department release said. He was arrested in Portland by officers from Intercept, a multi-agency child exploitation prevention team, as he was "poised to meet with his 13-year-old female victim Tuesday afternoon," the news release said.

Armed with search warrants, police searched Rasmussen, his rented vehicle, his hotel room and his Medford residence for evidence related to the alleged crimes, the sheriff's release said.

In addition to the two counts he was arraigned on, Rasmussen was arrested on five counts of second-degree online corruption of a minor and two counts of luring a minor.

A preliminary hearing on Rasmussen's charges is scheduled for Nov. 20 in the Clackamas court. Rasmussen is not to have contact with computers or the Internet, court records show.

Rasmussen is a well-known figure in Medford, having served in leadership roles for several nonprofit organizations — including Rogue Valley Youth for Christ and Britt Festivals. Rasmussen is a member of Medford Rogue Rotary Club and was a former president of the Rogue Valley Country Club.

News of the allegations against Rasmussen has spread "like wildfire" throughout the Medford community, said Brad Bills, the executive director of the Christian youth organization.

Rasmussen was on the group's board for about five years. But he left more than a year ago, Bills said. He declined to say whether Rasmussen had been asked to resign or had left the board voluntarily.

"Let's just say the values and choices he was making was not consistent with our organization," Bills said, declining further comment.

Rasmussen remains a member of the Britt board, said Executive Director Rick Hood. Britt directors will wait to see how Rasmussen's legal issues are resolved, Hood said.

Rasmussen served as a volunteer sports announcer with Table Rock Sports Productions for local high school football and basketball games for 15 years, said co-owner Joe Brett in a press release late Wednesday afternoon.

"Until further notice, Kelly will no longer be involved with any future high school broadcasts," said Brett.

Fellow broadcast volunteer Marc Bayliss said he was stunned to hear the allegations against Rasmussen.

"This shocking news has hit me very hard," Bayliss said.

Court records show Rasmussen's wife, Cynthia, filed for divorce in September 2007. She filed for and was granted a temporary restraining order. The divorce is not yet final.

Reach reporter Sanne Specht at 776-4497 or e-mail

Correction: The original version of this story included a misleading headline. It also left out reference to the specific number of charges against Rasmussen in his arraignment. This version has been corrected.

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