A religious leader in Oregon was sentenced to more than 13 years in prison for s*xually abusing a former church member when she was a child. The leader was convicted multiple times of s*xually abusing the victim when she was a child.
The Oregonian/OregonLive reported that on Tuesday (20 June), Circuit Judge Andrew Lavin sentenced Michael Sperou for two counts of first-degree illicit s*xual penetration. Sperou was given credit for time served in prior cases, but he was ruled ineligible for other sentence reduction programs and was ordered to register as a s*xual offender.
In 1997, when seven women and girls accused Sperou of s*xual abuse, prosecutors declined to file charges but indicted him in 2014 after reviewing the cases. Only one case remained within the statute of limitations at that point. Sperou was the longtime administrator of the Christian North Clackamas Bible Community in Happy Valley, and his position as senior pastor is still listed on the community’s website.
Do you know that Greg Timmons formerly worked as the principal at Hillsboro’s Liberty High School for nine years? He has now moved on to his new position at Oregon City High School:
Sperou was found guilty in his 2015 trial by a jury vote of 11-1. In 2020, however, the verdict was reversed because witnesses referred to the women as “victims” and the U.S. Supreme Court prohibited non-unanimous verdicts.
On Tuesday, Sperou’s attorney Steven Sherlag said his client is innocent and will appeal his conviction since two women testified against him in his third trial despite the fact that the statute of limitations had expired on their charges. Sperou didn’t speak during sentencing Tuesday.
Sherlag said –
“He will return to court for a fourth trial.”
During sentencing, Sherlag unsuccessfully attempted to persuade the judge to grant Sperou bail and release him from detention so he could plan an appeal.
Multnomah County Deputy District Attorney Chuck Mickley argued against it, stating that Sperou has continued to prey on his congregation by engaging in an illicit relationship with a woman whose daughter is 10 years old. Prosecutors assert that Sperou exerts extraordinary control over members’ day-to-day existence.
Lavin said –
“I’m very concerned about a child still living in the congregation.”
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