SUNRIVER, OR -- Two Sunriver firefighters are accused of a number of computer crimes relating to labor negotiations with the department. Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel filed criminal charges Friday against Jason Arnold and Jeff Ruthardt.
Arnold no longer works for the agency. He was a firefighter/paramedic and is the former President of the firefighters' labor association. Arnold faces 69 counts of Computer Crime, Obtaining Contents of Communication, Criminal Conspiracy and Official Misconduct.
Ruthardt is a former Captain and current firefighter/paramedic. He faces four counts of Criminal Conspiracy, Interception of Communication and Official Misconduct.
Hummel says the charges are based on a several months-long investigation by the Sunriver Police Department, which uncovered evidence the men accessed confidential emails of Sunriver Fire Department employees, including Fire Chief Art Hatch. The Deschutes County Sheriff's Office and Bend Police assisted in the investigation.
According to investigators, the confidential emails concerned employee matters, including labor negotiations, dating back to January 2015. Hummel says the investigation is ongoing, and more charges may result.
In a release, DA Hummel said, "Labor negotiations can be intense so it's understandable if parties lose their cool. Not all of the emails in question involved the pending labor negotiations but some did. Crossing the line by accessing computers and email is a crime and won't be tolerated in Deschutes County."
Arnold and Ruthardt are scheduled to be arraigned December 8.