By Ted Shorack
Published Apr 3, 2015 at 12:02AM
A former Eugene police officer was sentenced to seven years in prison Thursday for filming fellow officers use the restroom and for possessing and duplicating pornographic images of children.
Jeffrey Wade Argo, 41, pleaded guilty in Deschutes County Circuit Court to 21 counts of encouraging child sex abuse and invasion of privacy. The charges stemmed from crimes committed in Deschutes, Lane, Marion and Clackamas counties.
Argo admitted to uploading images of child pornography to his Google Drive account while visiting Bend in 2013. He also admitted to filming a Eugene police officer in the bathroom of a Bend home while they were in town for a work retreat.
Argo also pleaded guilty to installing a digital camera in the men’s bathroom at the Eugene Police Department that recorded six Eugene police officers urinating.
Eugene Police Chief Pete Kerns read a statement on behalf of the victims before sentencing. He said Argo’s “clandestine obsessions” violated the privacy of officers and betrayed a “sense of security.”
Kerns also lamented Argo’s participation in the “deplorable trade” of child pornography by duplicating and possessing the approximately 20 images investigators found.
Argo was visibly shaken during the sentencing hearing and cried as he asked for forgiveness from the victims.
“I have found out that I have a disease … and I accept my punishment,” Argo said.
The Oregon Department of Justice was alerted to the digital images of child pornography by Google. A warrant was issued for Argo’s Eugene home in March 2014. Investigators seized computers, CDs, a smartphone, a digital camera and other electronic equipment.
BJ Park, a special prosecutor for the DOJ, said in court that authorities found images of children being sexually abused and molested. They found video recordings of officers urinating in the police department bathroom as well as additional recordings, Park said.
Investigators discovered digital videos of a police officer on his way to or from a shower at the police academy in Salem. They also found video of four high school boys traveling with a track team using a bathroom at a rest area in Clackamas County.
Argo resigned from the Eugene Police Department in April 2014 after the warrant was issued and the recordings were found in addition to the images.
Defense attorney Jim McIntyre said that Argo had cooperated with law enforcement following the discovery and said Argo had shown remorse and regret from the beginning. He said his client was willing to accept responsibility by not contesting the charges.
Park and McIntyre made a joint recommendation of a four-year prison term for Argo after spending a year to negotiate a plea deal.
Deschutes County Circuit Court Judge Walter R. Miller chose to not accept the recommendation and instead increase the sentence to seven years, indicating he weighed heavily the 12 victims of the video recordings when reaching his decision. Argo was taken into custody by Deschutes County sheriff’s deputies after being sentenced to state prison.
Ted Shorack, “Former Eugene police officer sentenced in Bend.”, The Bulletin, 4/3/2015, http://www.bendbulletin.com/localstate/3034588-151/former-eugene-police-officer-sentenced-in-bend#