The Medford police officer charged with sex abuse resigned Friday and most likely will never work in law enforcement again, according to Chief Randy Schoen.
Tyler Terrell Chase, 23, resigned in lieu of termination by the department a day after it was reported he engaged in a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old Central Point girl.
"We advised Chase that it would be in his best interest if he resigned," Schoen said. "We were prepared to terminate his employment."
Chase faces charges of third-degree sexual abuse and contributing to the sexual delinquency of a minor.
The relationship came to Medford police attention after an officer with the Central Point Police Department investigated a report of a suspicious vehicle. The officer found Chase inside the car with the girl.
No charges were pressed at that time, as there was no proof that a crime was occurring.
"When we learned about that, we asked that Central Point conduct a further investigation into the matter," Schoen said. "They found that Chase had a sexual relationship with the girl."
Schoen said the girl admitted to the relationship when questioned. Chase soon admitted his role and was charged with the misdemeanor sex crimes, Schoen said.
A person commits third-degree sexual abuse when the victim does not consent to the sexual contact or the victim is incapable of consent because he or she is not 18 years old.
If found guilty, Chase could have to register as a sex offender. Oregon law allows people found guilty of low-level sex crimes such as third-degree sexual abuse to seek relief from registering as a sex offender if the crime was between consenting individuals and it is the convict's only sex offense.
Chase was hired by the department in 2009 after being appointed a community service officer. During his time as a CSO, which is a civilian position within the agency, he was assigned to North Medford High School.
Schoen said Chase was put through an exhaustive background and psychological investigation prior to becoming an officer.
"His background was sparkling clean," Schoen said. "We found no reason to suspect he would make such a poor ethical decision."
Schoen said Chase was still in his probationary period, but appeared to be well on his way to a productive career as a police officer.
"He was a very nice and very positive young officer," Schoen said. "This is very unfortunate."
Schoen said the department always will take the lead in rooting out problem officers.
"We took it on ourselves to report this problem as soon as it came to light," Schoen said.
Reach reporter Chris Conrad at 541-776-4471; or email firstname.lastname@example.org.