A former Durkee man will spend about 10 months in prison after pleading no contest on Sept. 13 to two charges involving sexual abuse of a child whom he knew.
Cecil Allen Sangston, 61, of 2341 Plum St. in Baker City, pleaded no contest to two counts on Sept. 13 — attempted first-degree unlawful sexual penetration, a Class B felony, and third-degree sexual abuse, a Class A misdemeanor.
A no contest plea has the same effect as a conviction.
The state alleged the crimes took place between Jan. 1, 2012, and Dec. 31, 2018, in Baker County.
Two counts of first-degree sexual abuse, and one count of first-degree unlawful sexual penetration, each of which on conviction carry mandatory minimum prison sentences, were dismissed as part of an agreement with the district attorney’s office.
The three counts that were dismissed are all Measure 11 offenses in Oregon, which carry mandatory minimum prison sentences on conviction.
The mandatory minimum sentence for first-degree unlawful sexual penetration is 100 months, and for first-degree sexual abuse is 75 months.
Visiting judge Robert Raschio sentenced Sangston to 17 months on the felony count, but Sangston had been in the Baker County Jail since his arrest on July 31, 2020, and with a reduction for good behavior he has served the full sentence for that charge, Baker County District Attorney Greg Baxter said on Tuesday, Sept. 28.
Raschio sentenced Sangston to 10 months in prison on the third-degree sexual abuse count.
Baxter said during the sentencing hearing on Sept. 13 that he decided not to proceed with a trial because he would have been limited, in the evidence he could present, because Baker City Police Detective Shannon Regan was the lead investigator in the Sangston case.
In late August, Baxter, in court records, said he would not call Regan as a witness in the first-degree murder case against Shawn Quentin Greenwood, who was accused of fatally shooting Angela Parrish in Baker City in January 2020.
Baxter cited a forensic investigation by the Oregon Department of Justice which concluded that Regan’s police department computer was used in September 2020 to listen to five phone calls between Greenwood and his attorney, calls that were protected by the attorney-client privilege.
After hearings in Baker County Circuit Court on Aug. 13 and Aug. 24, Judge Matt Shirtcliff ruled that Regan, who was the lead investigator in the Greenwood case, would not be allowed to testify during any trial of Greenwood due to the phone call issue.
On Sept. 3 Greenwood pleaded no contest to three lesser charges and was sentenced to 90 months in prison.
Baxter said that although there is no evidence that Regan acted improperly in investigating the charges against Sangston, the “taint” from the allegations against her in the Greenwood case would have weakened the prosecution’s case against Sangston had there been a trial, which had been scheduled for early December 2021.
Baxter said Sangston’s female victim, whom he knew, and her family were involved in discussions about the settlement and were satisfied with the outcome.