A well-known Medford civic leader has pleaded guilty to committing online sex crimes with minors.
Kelly Rasmussen, 47, pleaded guilty in Clackamas County Circuit Court on Thursday to two of five counts of first-degree online sexual corruption of a minor. The other three counts remain listed as "active" in court records.
Rasmussen has a sentencing hearing scheduled for April 3, court records show.
Rasmussen was arrested Oct. 21, 2008, in Portland after engaging in sexually explicit online chat with police officers whom he believed to be 11- and 13-year-old girls, and then driving to Portland to meet them. He was arrested by officers from Intercept, a multi-agency child exploitation prevention team, as he was "poised to meet with his 13-year-old female victim," according to police.
Michael Regan, Clackamas County senior deputy district attorney, said the combination of Rasmussen's actions — engaging in online sexual discussions with a minor (or an undercover police officer) and then taking a substantial step to meet that child — supports charging him with the most serious of three new laws against online sexual predators that were enacted in January 2008.
Television newscasts at the time of his arrest showed a shaken but cooperative Rasmussen at an undisclosed location in Portland as he stepped out of his vehicle. Armed with warrants, police searched Rasmussen, his rented vehicle, his hotel room and then his Medford residence for evidence.
Originally held on $155,000 bail, Rasmussen later was released on his own recognizance with the stipulation he not use the Internet for reasons other than work. He is to have no contact with the alleged victims, or visit chat rooms or have any Internet contact with minors, court records show.
The father of three children, Rasmussen is the vice president of Jackson Travel in Medford. He was president of the Southern Oregon Golf Tournament and a past president of the Rogue Valley Country Club. He is a member of the Medford Linebackers Club and the Medford Rogue Rotary Club.
The Britt Festivals suspended Rasmussen from its board of directors after news of his arrest surfaced. He no longer broadcasts for Table Rock Sports Productions, where he provided color commentary for South and North Medford high school football and basketball games for 15 years.
Joe Brett, vice president of the production company, and Rasmussen's former broadcasting partner, Mark Bayliss, both expressed shock when they heard of Rasmussen's arrest — particularly because of the nature of the crimes.
Bayliss said he was relieved that Rasmussen opted to plead guilty and "face the consequences of his actions."
"I pray for Kelly," Bayliss said. "I hope that he can learn from his mistakes and move forward."
Brett said he has spoken briefly with Rasmussen a few times in the past five months.
"It was nothing noteworthy," he said, noting he had been unaware of Rasmussen's guilty plea.
Brett said Rasmussen no longer will provide volunteer commentary for Table Rock Sports.
"It was inherently known that would not be a good association," Brett said.
Rasmussen could not be reached for comment Thursday. He has not returned repeated calls from the Mail Tribune since his arrest.
Reach reporter Sanne Specht at 776-4497 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.