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Abuser posing as teen’s father was ‘elaborate scheme,’ city says

Arguing that a juvenile hatched an “elaborate” scheme with her 46-year-old boyfriend to trick police, the city of Medford denies a lawsuit’s claims that Medford police officers missed “red flags” in a teen sex abuse investigation.

The city of Medford responded to a $2.5 million lawsuit Monday in U.S. District Court by saying that the girl’s own conduct “caused or contributed” to a Medford officer failing to intervene while the teen was an emergency room patient at Rogue Regional Medical Center with drugs in her system.

The teen allegedly texted her accused abuser from the hospital Oct. 3 while Medford police Officer Ashlee McFall wasn’t looking, and asked him to pretend to be her father because the teen “was scared about getting in trouble,” according to the lawsuit filed in June by the teen’s guardian with the aid of Portland lawyer Christopher Lundberg.

The lawsuit claims that the teen endured two additional weeks of physical, sexual and verbal harm when police released the teen to the man without verifying the man’s identity.

The response filed by Medford lawyer Thomas F. Armosino, representing the city, describes the teen’s effort to avoid getting in trouble as “an elaborate scheme.”

“Defendants (the city) admit that Jane Doe, a minor, and a 46-year-old male criminal, hatched an elaborate and intentional scheme to trick the police and medical professionals at Rogue Regional Medical Center into releasing the minor to the 46-year-old male criminal, who was posing as the minor’s father,” Armosino states.

Armosino later added that the scheme was “akin to Stockholm Syndrome,” and “ultimately worked to garner her release.”

Neither the lawsuit filed June 8 nor the city’s response identify the teen or her abuser, but the dates and circumstances match those of the criminal case of Jacob James Townsend, 47, who has been held in the Jackson County Jail since Oct. 19 on felony charges that include custodial interference, sexual abuse, identity theft and applying Schedule I and II controlled substances to the body of another person.

The charges allege that Townsend injected the teen with methamphetamine and heroin, which sent the juvenile to the hospital, according to earlier news reports. The officer was one of the witnesses who testified against Townsend to the grand jury, according to the indictment filed in Jackson County Circuit Court.

Townsend is scheduled to stand trial in the criminal case Sept. 21.

Reach reporter Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or nmorgan@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @MTCrimeBeat.