Bernie Giusto: in deep trouble

Multnomah County Sheriff Bernie Giusto is under fire and under investigation - and may be forced to give up his state certification as a police officer. From the O, last week:

State investigators have given Multnomah County Sheriff Bernie Giusto the option of turning in his badge immediately or fighting allegations that he may have lied to the public repeatedly, notably about what he knew of former Gov. Neil Goldschmidt's abuse of a 14-year-old girl.

Giusto has chosen to stay on the job, but remains under the cloud of the continuing investigation by a state department responsible for certifying police. The agency is expected to release its full report next month and Giusto has declined comment in the meantime.

In a letter to Giusto sent last week but disclosed today, investigators with the Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards and Training said they have information that Giusto may have lied to the public about Goldschmidt's sexual abuse of the girl, which became public in 2004. Giusto worked as the former governor's driver while a member of the Oregon State Police.

It's not just about his role in the cover-up of Neil Goldschmidt's actions. It's about actions he's taken as Sheriff, too:

The letter also said investigators had information that Giusto may have lied to the public about the case of Jim Jeddeloh. Giusto pulled strings to help Jeddeloh, then chairman of the Citizen Crime Commission, get approval for a handgun licence despite a drunken driving conviction that made him legally ineligible and concerns about domestic violence in Jeddeloh's marriage. Giusto later struck up a relationship with Jeddeloh's wife after helping her obtain a restraining order against Jeddeloh and pushing Jeddeloh into rehabilitation for alcohol abuse.

In an editorial, the Oregonian hammers him:

The sheriff has been given second, third, fourth and fifth chances to improve the way he operates, but his supporters are dwindling. The standards board didn't specify what evidence it had amassed to suggest that Giusto had lied about Goldschmidt and the Jeddelohs, but Giusto had changed his stories about the Jeddelohs on a couple of instances, without providing a convincing explanation for why he, and not his accusers, should be believed.

It is clear to many, if not to Giusto himself, that his performance as sheriff is, to put it charitably, a distraction. To put it less charitably, it is an embarrassment.

The Gresham Outlook goes further than the O, calling outright for his resignation:

Bernie Giusto, the ethically challenged sheriff of Multnomah County and Gresham resident, needs to shed his self-imposed public silence just long enough next week to utter three simple words: “I resign immediately.”

This kind of behavior describes someone who is morally deficient — not someone we want as county sheriff. That, in and of itself, is reason enough for Giusto to leave. We urge him to do so, and thereby save citizens the trouble of a recall.


  • David the Troll (unverified)

    While My personal Opinion of The sheriff is less than complimentary. I believe that he should have his due process. I am unclear on the time line If The Rape happened While Goldschmidt was Mayor and The Sheriff Did not drive for him till he was Gov. about ten years later, Wouldn't This Information be Suspect ?

  • Kurt Chapman (unverified)

    It could be that Sheriff Giusto is the sacrificial lamb. Could it be the party PTB are throwing him under the bus in an attempt to hold off on any further investigation regarding the powerful people who knew of the ongoing child rape and did nothing?

  • Trollbot9000 (unverified)

    Let's not forget our current governor who may have also known all of the sordid details and kept mum. Surely he should be held to the same standard as the town sheriff.

  • The Truth (unverified)

    A few things:

    1. The Oregonian has a clear bias. Fred Stickel, the O's publisher, served on the Citizens Crime Commission with Jeddeloh and is good friends with him. If you notice, the O is not mentioning how Jeddeloh abused his wife, as Willamette Week, for example, did.

    2. About Goldschmidt, Giusto worked for the governor as his bodyguard well after the illegal acts occurred.

    3. It's not like he's been convicted, give the Sheriff a chance to make his case and have his due process. What he got was the equivalent of an indictment, that's all.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)

    I must agree with others here. My overall opinion of Giusto is not positive, but it may be that he is a fall guy here. Many people now in powerful positions likely knew of Goldschmidt's illegal activities and did not report them.

  • alijane (unverified)

    Who was the driver when he was the Mayor?

    It is time for the parents to emerge from the shadows. They tried to protect their daughter and their standing in the community at the time, but this story will not end until the step forward and tell the truth.

  • (Show?)

    I saw Jeddeloh's wife (ex-wife?) on local news recently and she supports Giusto.

    Channel 8 reported last night that Lars Larson has filed a complaint with the Oregon Bar Association against Ted Kulongoski for lying to the public, apparently based on the testimony of the same guy who is a key accuser against Giusto. It sounded like some sort of investigation was in the works. I don't know if a bar investigation would set in motion a state one comparable to what Giusto is facing.

    Larson's move does not surprise me and I think cuts against the "fall guy" theory on Giusto. If these guys knew and lied about it, having one charge that makes those lies an issue opens a door rather than closing one. Seems at least as likely that someone(s) was(were) using Giusto as a stalking horse to put the "Who knew and who lied about it?" question into more active play.

  • (Show?)

    They tried to protect their daughter and their standing in the community at the time, but this story will not end until the step forward and tell the truth.

    Huh? Given that Goldschmidt has admitted the abuse, I don't think there's any question about what the "truth" is related to the original abuse.

    The only question today is whether Giusto was involved in covering it up later.

  • David (unverified)

    Lars complaint can be nothing more than a political stunt. There is no evidence that anyone is aware of that ties TK to any of this. He probably heard the rumors, but so did everyone else, including TK's opponent last year, Saxton. The Bar doesn't usually waste time on crap such as this. This is the equivalent of the lawyer who filed a complaint against Jack Roberts last year for "unauthorized practice of law." Lars knows it too and ought to be ashamed.

  • Bob Tiernan (unverified)

    Tom Civiletti:

    I must agree with others here. My overall opinion of Giusto is not positive, but it may be that he is a fall guy here. Many people now in powerful positions likely knew of Goldschmidt's illegal activities and did not report them.

    Bob T:

    Let's find out who they are, too. Don't you have a problem with people who want to stay and rise in the establishment so much that they have no qualms attaching themselves to a serial child rapist?

    Bob Tiernan

  • genop (unverified)

    The Bar does expend valuable time and resources on every single complaint filed as to the conduct of it's members. At minimum, they send a copy of the complaint to the accused, review the response and decide whether to proceed further. Even if the claim is weak, if it implicates any of the myriad of disciplinary rules, it is pursued to conclusion. Even when the claim is unfounded it takes months to reach that conclusion and lots of person hours. Fortunately the process is paid for by the Bar members and not taxpayers. Personally, I think the Bar ought to, at minimum, require a modest filing fee for all complaints to discourage spite complaints and offset the claims expense.

  • ElJay (unverified)


    A lot of information out there at the time of Goldschmidt's outing suggested that at a minimum both Ted's predecessors (Gov.s Kitzhaber and Roberts) were aware of the allegations, as were other prominent democratic elected officials contributors.

    Folks better be careful how hard they push on this or the sheriff and his allies may bring them all down with him.


  • Grant Schott (unverified)

    I wish Guisto would step down, but he has had issues for years, so why didn't anyone (of substance) oppose him for sheriff last year?

    As for the Goldschmidt stroy, I'm sick of it. I heard that GOldschmidt had a statutory rape charge (no specifics were given) when I was a legislative intern back in '95. I had floated Neil's name for the U.S. Senate, and a staffer who was supporting someone else told me that Neil coudn't run because of his history. At the time I thought it might be a smear and, at the least, an exageration. Obviously, I was wrong, and I can only assume that many others knew about it and weren't honest about what they knew and when they heard it.

    Having said that, as others have posted here, the question is who knew about it back in the '70s/ early '80s when the staute of limiations hadn't passed? Clearly, this girl's mother was a Goldschmidt groupie/enabler who worked for him as late as 1986. I beleive the media reports stated that was about the time that GOldschmidt's victim really started talking.

    Yes, there were always inside baseball stories of Goldschmidt's womanizing (as well as drug use.) That's also been true of Ted Kennedy, Gary Hart and many others. Perhaps we are too leniant with many of our political leaders.

    Statuatory rape obviosuly goes beyond the womanizing category and any charge should be taken seriously. THose who knew of Goldscmidt's crime and kept promoting him, hired him as a lobbyist, supported him for higher Ed Baord/ investment boards, etc... and lied about it, made a mistake. That doesn't mean they commited a crime, though.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)

    Bob T.,

    I do have a problem with that. If going after Giusto is part of a wider investigation, that's fine with me.

  • Aaron (unverified)

    ElJay said: "Folks better be careful how hard they push on this or the sheriff and his allies may bring them all down with him."

    I can't think of a more preposterous, dangerous statement.

    Condoning the actions of a crooked sheriff (in my not humble opinion) to protect political allies is something I would expect from the Bushes and Roves of the world. It's just slimy. Have we learned nothing?

  • (Show?)

    Under Jeff's post about Ted K. being brought into this, Kari raises an excellent distinction between "knowing" and having heard rumors. From the sound of it, if the standard is to be "having heard rumors but not pursued them," I don't see how it can be the case that all of those falling into that category can be Democrats.

    What Republicans ought we be including in this discussion?

    The failing seems to have been quite widespread within the political classes.

  • paul (unverified)

    Sadly, have to agree with Grant here. I voted against Bernie last time. I'll vote against him next time.

    His management of overtime in the sheriff's office was abysmal. His relationship with and attitude with the MultCo commissioners was beyond arrogant. On top of all that, his behavior with regards to Jeddolah and his wife was over the bounds of what I consider ethical.

    But MultCo residents voted him back into office. So now the voters deserve what they got.

  • smike (unverified)

    Lots of fun, this deal. Agency led by John Minnis, accused a couple of years ago of using a payoff to get rid of a teenaged girl accusing a relative of a serious degree of sexual harassment, goes after the sheriff accused of not reporting a years-ago even more vile crime that eventually seems to have been settled by a sort of civil compromise. A crime we have to assume went unmentioned by who knows how many distinguished Oregonians when the FBI was backgrounding the ex-gov. for the Carter cabinet. Minnis got his nice state job after dropping out of the race for sheriff, either because he could not, despite a long political career, raise any campaign cash, or perhaps, because he was destined for a nice state job. (Is anyone who is familiar with law enforcment willing to argue that Detective John was the clear best choice for the job?) This left Bernie as the only viable candidate. It all sounds too much like New Jersey to me.

  • Will (unverified)
    <h2>smike, are you suggesting that Karen exerted leverage to obtain a position for John that he can employ to engage in Dickie Tricks? Couldn't happen . . . too often.</h2>
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