When Jamie Worley’s attorney made his closing argument, last week, he told jurors only one of two things could be true: Either his client’s accuser had created her story, or that Worley was indeed the “monster” portrayed by the prosecution.
Wednesday afternoon in Deschutes County Circuit Court, the jury provided the answer.
James Daniel “Jamie” Worley, 45, a Gresham pastor and onetime Bend resident, was found guilty of seven sex-related felonies against a former family member in a case that stretches back six years and involves abuse that took place around the turn of the millennium.
The jury was unable to reach a verdict on eight other counts. Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel said his office will decide in the next few days whether or not to try Worley again on those charges.
The verdict shocked Worley and the family and friends who packed the courtroom. A jury in an earlier, related case in Tillamook County had found Worley not guilty on several charges, and deadlocked on others.
In casual exchanges this month around the Deschutes County Courthouse, Worley expressed cautious optimism he’d again be found not guilty. He wanted to move on with his life, he said.
None of the six men and six women seemed to look at Worley as they filed past him on Wednesday.
“Why?” a red-faced and tearful Worley asked himself repeatedly after the verdict was read. He said it looking toward the ceiling with his hands turned up. He said it again as he looked at the jurors who spent four weeks hearing evidence and four days deliberating.
Worley was originally arrested in 2014, based on accusations made two years earlier. The family member described abuse that took place between 2002 and 2004, when Worley and his then-wife lived in Bend.
Action in the case was delayed by the one in Tillamook County in 2015.
To find a pool of jurors able to sit through what was expected to be a long and complex trial, court administrative staff recruited hundreds of potential jurors.
His trial here began Feb. 22 and included testimony from both Worley and his accuser.
A scheduling conference will be held Friday to determine Worley’s sentencing date.
He has a federal lawsuit pending against the social worker who testified for the prosecution in the Tillamook County case. He’s also appealing several counts that were dismissed in an earlier judgment.
Following Wednesday’s verdict, Worley’s current wife, Joanne, said the family hasn’t given up. “He is innocent,” she said multiple times. “There is so much the jury didn’t get to hear.”
After the verdict was read, Worley’s distraught mother, Connie Worley, startled the courtroom. She pointed at Judge Beth Bagley as she was leaving, wagging her finger.
“You,” Connie Worley said. “You.”
A furious Bagley then ordered a deputy to keep Connie Worley in the courtroom.
“You’re not leaving,” Bagley said. “Don’t you dare shake your finger at me.”
Following a short conference in the judge’s chambers, Bagley had the woman rise to her feet.
“I don’t know what went through your mind, but in open court, in front of everyone — not least of all me — you waved your finger at me and angrily shook it, as if I am responsible for a jury finding your son guilty,” Bagley said. “You did that despite my clearly admonishing and warning against that sort of activity. Your behavior undermines the preservation of order of the court.”
Bagley found Connie Worley in contempt of court and ordered her to spend 24 hours in the Deschutes County jail and pay a $500 fine.
“I’m sorry, your honor,” she said.
“I bet you are,” said the judge.
Connie Worley was handcuffed and led away by a sheriff’s deputy moments after her son.
— Reporter: 541-383-0325, firstname.lastname@example.org