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Former fire chief’s probation may be revoked

State: Peterson unlawfully intercepted communications.

By Sean Hart

Blue Mountain Eagle

Published on March 10, 2017 1:56PM

Last changed on March 10, 2017 2:10PM

Roy Peterson will soon be back in court, facing allegations he violated the terms of his probation.

In a Feb. 17 filing in Grant County Circuit Court, Senior Assistant Attorney General Daniel P. Wendel said he believes Peterson, who was convicted in 2016 of three felony charges related to theft from the Monument Rural Fire District, violated his probation by committing the crime of unlawfully intercepting communications.

Peterson was sentenced to 60 days in jail and two years of formal probation, in addition to fines and community service, after a jury found him guilty of first-degree aggravated theft, first-degree theft and possession of a stolen vehicle. The conditions of his probation included obeying all laws.

On Dec. 29, Peterson used a concealed digital recording device to record a conversation without the knowledge of all the participants, according to a Jan. 3 report from Grant County Parole and Probation Officer Mike McManus, who said Peterson originally claimed to have only a cell phone in his pocket.

“When Mr. Peterson leaned over I could see a small black colored electrical device with a red light on in his front pocket,” McManus said in the report. “... When it was out of his pocket Mr. Peterson then told me it was a digital recording device. I asked him if the red light meant that he was recording our conversation. Mr. Peterson then acted surprised and said that he must have accidentally hit the record button.”

Oregon law generally prohibits obtaining any part of a conversation with any device unless all participants are informed. The prohibition does not apply to conversations with law enforcement officers but only if the officer is performing official duties, if the conversation is audible with unaided hearing, if the person recording is not trespassing and if the recording is made openly and in plain view.

Peterson is scheduled to admit or deny whether he violated the terms of his probation at 11 a.m. April 13 in Grant County Circuit Court.

Peterson had also filed a motion for a new trial on two of the original charges in October, but the motion was denied. Peterson filed notice of his intent to appeal Nov. 29.

The charges stemmed from Peterson’s acquisition of resources — money and equipment — for fire protection in Monument and his subsequent refusal to turn over the resources to the Monument Rural Fire District, which was formed by voters in November of 2012.

Wendel said in his closing argument at the trial the first-degree theft charge was for submitting fraudulent invoices in excess of $1,000 with a grant application to the Oregon Department of Forestry on or about Feb. 15, 2013. Wendel said Peterson used white out to submit the same invoice on different grant applications in 2011 and 2012.

The first-degree aggravated theft and possession of a stolen vehicle charges were for withholding fire vehicles and equipment in excess of $10,000 from the Monument Rural Fire District on or about Feb. 21, 2013, according to court documents.


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