By Claire Withycombe

The Bulletin

Deschutes County Circuit Judge Beth Bagley on Thursday lowered the bail for a Gresham pastor facing sexual abuse charges.

Bagley set bail at $250,000, reduced from the $1 million set Jan. 7 by Circuit Judge Walter “Randy” Miller for James Worley, 42, a general pastor at Powell Valley Church.

Worley faces 37 charges, including 20 counts of first-degree sexual abuse and two counts of first-degree rape, in connection with alleged abuses reported to have taken place between 2002 and 2004, when Worley was a resident in Deschutes County. Worley was arrested Dec. 17 by Gresham Police.

The two alleged victims , one of whom is a minor, spoke at the hearing Thursday, attesting they fear for their safety if Worley were to be released from custody.

“I feel that if he’s released, other people could be hurt,” said one victim in a brief statement to the court.

Bagley ruled that if Worley is able to post 10 percent of the bail amount, he must wear a GPS monitor and remain at home unless he is attending a court hearing, a doctor’s appointment or a meeting with his lawyer. “He would essentially be on house arrest,” Bagley said.

Worley is not to have contact with minors, except for his own children living at his home; that contact must be supervised by another adult, Bagley said.

Supporters from Worley’s church attended proceedings Thursday. Richard Cohen, Worley’s attorney, stated Worley had been cooperative with authorities and indicated the set bail amount was the maximum the church community could provide.

Bagley did not consider a packet of exhibits submitted by the defense to bolster the case to reduce bail, including a review of polygraph tests taken by Worley. She said there was insufficient time to review the 127 pages and that the contents were not germane to her release decision.

“They could have or should have been offered at the last hearing if they were available,” Bagley said.

Worley is scheduled to enter a plea to the charges Jan. 29.

— Reporter: 541-383-0376,