Bend cop quits after sex inquiry

Former PIO Lt. Chris Carney admits to sex while on duty

By Shelby R. King / The Bulletin

Published Jan 14, 2014 at 12:01AM / Updated Jan 15, 2014 at 04:18PM

Former Bend Police public information officer Lt. Chris Carney has resigned following an internal affairs investigation that determined he had sex with four women, including three city of Bend employees.

“The sexual activity occurred while Chris Carney was both on and off duty, in uniform, in professional attire and in street or workout clothing, within the Bend Police Department in a restroom, in his office … and in a storage area,” according to investigation documents. “It also involved on duty sexual contact in the East substation, and on secluded public streets where he met (name redacted) in his marked police vehicle.”

The identities of the women involved were withheld from the report, but city attorney Gary Firestone confirmed the city employees were not sworn police officers and one was a member of the media. Documents indicate the relationship with the member of the media occurred in the “spring or summer” of 2013.

“He considers (name redacted) a friend, someone he gives stories to and she calls him ‘a lot’ for stories,” Lt. Ben Gregory wrote of the member of the media Carney had sex with. “He has talked to her about him running for political office.”

The women Carney had sex with were not formally disciplined, and no further action will be taken against them, Chief Jeff Sale said.

“I told her as long as she was honest, she would only be treated as a witness, and no discipline would occur against her regarding the allegations against Lt. Carney,” Gregory wrote in his investigation report. “I told her if she makes a false statement or lies to me, it would be considered a separate issue, and she could face discipline.”

Carney, who was first hired by Bend Police in 1992 and became the public face of the department in September 2012, was the subject of another investigation in April regarding accusations that he had sex while on duty and in uniform in 1995. That investigation was closed, and Carney was reprimanded with a formal notice in his personnel file. He was also the subject of a 2008 investigation in which a woman accused him of making “unwanted sexual contact” in her workplace. The complaint was later dropped, but Carney admitted to “meeting her and kissing her while on duty.”

Rumors surrounding Carney’s improper conduct with female city employees surfaced in 2009 when an unnamed employee followed him and a woman to a secluded area off Reed Market Road. The employee reportedly was unable to see exactly what was going on but implied the two were having sex.

Carney, who did not return calls for comment, was married during the times he had sex with other women, according to the documents.

Gregory determined Carney violated several department policies by engaging in sexual activities.

“Since the conduct of an officer, on or off duty, may reflect directly upon the department, an officer must at all times conduct himself in a manner which does not bring discredit to himself, the department or the city,” Gregory noted.

Carney was placed on paid administrative leave on Oct. 31 while the investigation was underway. The salary for an administrative lieutenant ranges between about $40 per hour and $52 per hour.

“I took these allegations extremely seriously and moved as fast as possible to conduct the investigation,” Sale said about the recent accusations. “We hold our employees to the highest standard, and this is not representative of the caliber of employees we have working at the police department.”

Gregory, who conducted the investigation, found Carney misled him and was not truthful when answering questions.

“As the investigation progressed, additional allegations surfaced,” he wrote in an email to Capt. Jim Porter. “Those allegations were: That he was insubordinate, untruthful, and he had sexual relationships on duty, in various locations in the police station, the east substation and in public areas.”

Gregory said Carney admitted had he been caught it would have “caused the department embarrassment.”

“He also admitted to meeting (name redacted), off duty for sex, in areas open to the public,” Gregory wrote. “Sex in public places is a crime.”

Carney admitted to having sex in his office at the police department and in a hotel at a training conference funded by the department.

Gregory found it necessary to interview Carney five times in order to get the truth, as Carney would offer intentionally vague or misleading answers, Gregory wrote in his report.

“He seemed to answer as though something happened but he would often times follow up with abstract/vague answers such as possibly, maybe, and when he would answer in the affirmative he would follow up with he was not sure or didn’t recall,” Gregory wrote. “Answers that were the most damaging to him were likely the ones he could not recall.”

—Reporter: 541-383-0376

sking@bendbulletin.com