Former cafe owner jailed on sex abuse, drug charges
The owner of the defunct Culture Works Cafe in Ashland has been arrested on more than two-dozen charges alleging he gave minors drugs in exchange for sex, had sexual relationships with minors who worked for him or frequented the cafe, and provided drugs to minors during events at Culture Works and other venues around Oregon.
Christopher Ian Iverson, 45, was arrested Friday by Ashland police on charges of third-degree rape, sodomy and sexual abuse, delivery of ecstasy, delivery of marijuana to a minor, contributing to the sexual delinquency of a minor and endangering the welfare of a minor. He faces 28 counts total and his bail was set at $197,000, according to an Ashland Police Department release.
Ashland police have been investigating Iverson since 2011, when they received tips he was providing MDMA (ecstasy, or "molly," as he called it), marijuana and "whippets" (nitrous oxide) to people during "after parties" at his business, according to the APD release. Culture Works was a cafe and performing arts venue in the 300 block of Oak Street in Ashland that has since closed.
Brent Thompson, owner of the Oak Street Plaza building where Culture Works Cafe was housed, said he never witnessed any of the alleged misconduct.
"Police contacted me a number of times with concerns about marijuana smoking and kids there after hours, but did I ever witness anything — no."
Thompson said he never did any of his own investigating, because he believed police were doing the necessary work, and he doesn't stay up that late.
He said Iverson still owes him money — since Iverson closed and left before the lease was up and signed a promissory note to pay.
The release said multiple people have recently come forward to help with the investigation. They alleged Iverson was involved in a sexual relationship with one or more minor females who worked at Culture Works or frequented the cafe, police said. Investigators believe Iverson would provide drugs to minors in exchange for sexual activity, the release said.
Iverson is also accused of providing illegal drugs to minors during events at Culture Works and elsewhere in Oregon.
Police served multiple search warrants on Friday, the release said. More charges were expected, police said.
Police suspect there may be more victims and ask anyone with information to call Detective Carrie Hull at 541-552-2126.
"Investigators have no intention of arresting any of the minors involved and view these persons as victims of Christopher Iverson," the release said.