A former Grant County resident who pleaded guilty to sex crimes last year faces new charges in a different county against the same victim.
Chancee Ferguson, 29, of Bend was indicted by a Wheeler County grand jury July 12, 2017, for two counts of first-degree sodomy and one count of first-degree sexual abuse against a single victim younger than 12 in 2006.
Wheeler County Judge Janet L. Stauffer denied Ferguson’s motion to have the new charges dismissed April 17 — concluding that a 2017 plea agreement in Grant County did not settle the Wheeler County matters.
Ferguson had been indicted in Grant County Circuit Court Jan. 20, 2017, on 11 counts of sex crimes against a single underage victim for incidents in 2004, 2007, 2008 and 2011.
Ferguson reached an agreement with the prosecutors and pleaded guilty May 18, 2017, to one felony, attempting to commit first-degree sexual abuse, and two misdemeanor charges of sexual misconduct. The charges to which he pleaded guilty were committed in 2004 when Ferguson was also younger than 18, and the other eight counts were dismissed as part of the agreement. He was sentenced to 364 days in jail and five years of supervised probation and was ordered to complete a sexual offender treatment program and register as a sex offender.
After the Wheeler County indictment was filed in July 2017, Ferguson’s new attorney, Jerrett Glass, filed a motion to dismiss the charges on the grounds of contract law, breach of contract and due process — claiming the Wheeler County charges were settled in the Grant County plea agreement.
Judge Stauffer found that there was no written evidence the stipulated Grant County plea included any other counties; that the Wheeler County district attorney did not stipulate to the settlement; and that the Grant County district attorney testified the statutory procedures for global settlements were not followed. She also found that attorney Rob Raschio, who represented Ferguson in the Grant County matters, did not consult with the Wheeler County district attorney and that Raschio testified he erred in not following the global settlement statutes.
Stauffer concluded, while the parties in the Grant County settlement may have believed they were settling matters regarding allegations in other counties, the Grant County prosecutors “had no apparent or actual authority” to do so. She said Raschio should have known the Wheeler County matter would not be settled without compliance with the global settlement statutes or further agreement by the Wheeler County district attorney.
The judge also stated in the order, “Similar charges may be filed in other counties involving alleged crimes by this defendant against (the victim) within the boundaries of those counties.”