A convicted sex offender is accused of attempting to kidnap a woman in his room at a Bend halfway house while also possessing child pornography and unlawfully contacting minors online.
Probation officers received a tip in July 2015 that Jeffrey Christian Yaeger, 37, of Bend, had violated his probation by using two cellphones to access child pornography and contact underage girls. The officers seized the cellphones during a search of his room, and after further investigation discovered he allegedly tried to kidnap a woman he met on an online dating website two weeks earlier.
Yaeger’s defense lawyer, Joel Wirtz, argued at a pretrial hearing Friday in Deschutes County Circuit Court that the search and seizure of Yaeger’s property was unlawful, and any evidence gained should be suppressed.
The prosecution maintains the search and seizure was lawful.
“We are not dealing with the average law-abiding citizen who has certain privacy rights,” Deputy District Attorney Kandy Gies said in court Friday. “We are dealing with somebody who has restricted privacy rights, who is on a very strict supervision.”
Yaeger, who remains in Deschutes County jail on $500,000 bail, appeared in court for the hearing Friday. He is charged with first and second-degree attempted kidnapping, five counts of second-degree encouraging child sexual abuse and two counts of unlawful contact with a child.
Probation officers Tami Carpenter and Lydia McNaughton were called as witnesses Friday to explain their interaction with Yaeger.
Following the tip about the two cellphones, the probation officers went to find Yaeger July 29, 2015, at his room in the Tom Tom Motel, a halfway house for sex offenders. Staff at the halfway house told them he was at a dentist appointment. The officers went to meet Yaeger at the dentist’s office and described the interaction as cordial.
“He appeared fine, other than some cotton in his mouth,” Carpenter said.
The defense claims Yaeger was still drugged from having a tooth extracted, and was in no condition to be interrogated by the probation officers.
“He was impaired because he just had surgery,” Wirtz said.
The probation officers drove Yaeger back to his motel room but could not find any cellphones in the room, according to Carpenter’s testimony. She said she kept asking Yaeger to be honest with her. Eventually, she said, Yaeger retrieved a flip phone and a smartphone he was hiding in an ivy bush outside his room.
Other items seized in Yaeger’s room included a bag with rope, a homemade child-sized bikini top, several handwritten stories about the sexual abuse of minors and a little black book filled with information about underage girls, according to court records.
A forensic search of Yaeger’s smartphone revealed images of child pornography and online conversations with underage girls convincing them to send sexually explicit photos of themselves, court records show.
Bend Police Detective Wes Murphy, who also testified Friday, reviewed the materials in the case, which led him to find the attempted kidnapping victim.
The woman told Murphy she met Yaeger on the online dating site, Plenty of Fish, where he invited her to his room at the halfway house.
On July 14, 2015, the woman met Yaeger at his residence. Inside the room, Yaeger apparently took selfies with the woman and asked her for naked photos at a later time, court records show.
“The woman immediately began to feel uncomfortable and wanted out of the room,” according to a court filing. “Yaeger stated, ‘Oh no, you can’t leave.’ He then made comments that she could not leave because his neighbors were weird.”
Yaeger reportedly got between the woman and the door, blocking her exit. She described being “freaked out” and feeling like “something really strange and not OK was occurring.”
The woman was able to exit the room after about a half hour and she ran to her car, according to court documents.
Judge A. Michael Adler said he will take the defense and prosecution’s arguments about suppressing evidence into consideration and likely make a ruling next week.
A trial is scheduled to begin in May.
— Reporter: 541-617-7820, firstname.lastname@example.org