BEND, OR -- A Bend-based State Police Captain pleaded guilty to Harassment, Tuesday, but has not been fired. According to the Deschutes County District Attorney, William Fugate has been ordered to serve two days in jail, later this week, followed by 24 months probation. However, "He is still employed with the Oregon State Police," OSP Captain Tim Fox tells KBND News.
D.A. John Hummel says the conviction stems from a 2017 incident when Fugate "violently grabbed" his estranged wife, leaving a bruise on her arm. As part of the plea deal, one count of Harassment was dismissed. Hummel says five other claims of domestic violence could not be pursued due to the statute of limitations.
Fugate was placed on paid administrative leave in March 2018, when the Sheriff's Office began its investigation into the allegations. The D.A. began reviewing the case in April. Capt. Fox says, "Back when he was charged by the Deschutes County District Attorney's office, the State Police moved him to unpaid administrative leave, and so he's been on unpaid administrative leave, and will continue in that role until we can complete our investigation." He says that internal review is complicated by technicalities in the law, "Harassment, in and of itself, is not a domestic violence charge in Oregon. The 'Domestic Harassment' is based on the fact that it was a domestic situation, but it's not actually a crime of Domestic Violence." And, he says, investigators need to determine whether the conviction prevents Fugate from executing his law enforcement duties, "That's what the investigation is going to vet out: Is it even possible? Can he possess firearms?"
While Capt. Fox says OSP can employ people convicted of certain crimes, he believes troopers should be held to a higher standard, "We should be the example, not the exception." He adds, "At this point, we just need to make sure we do a thorough investigation for everyone involved, and make sure that we get all the facts, and make a decision from there, what's legally sound and just."
Fugate worked for OSP more than 11 years and served as the agency's Senior Public Information Officer (PIO) when he was placed on leave.