A Madras school maintenance worker and foster or adoptive parent to dozens of children pleaded guilty this week to three counts of first-degree sex abuse of one of his foster daughters.

Michael John “Mike” McCoy was sentenced to six years in prison.

McCoy, 60, was jailed in Jefferson County from his arrest in March until Tuesday, when a plea and sentencing hearing was held in Jefferson County Circuit Court.

Judge Annette Hillman approved a negotiated sentence of six years and three months, followed by 10 years post-prison supervision. Because first-degree sex abuse falls under Oregon’s mandatory-minimum sentencing law — Measure 11 — McCoy will not be eligible for early release from prison.

Upon release from prison, he will have to register as a sex offender for life.

In exchange for pleading guilty, seven counts of first- and third-degree sex abuse were dismissed.

The criminal case against McCoy began in March when he disclosed an “inappropriate relationship” to his counselor, who notified the Department of Human Services. He said he was falling in love with his 15-year-old foster daughter, according to a probable cause affidavit released by the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.

Detectives met with McCoy’s wife and informed her of the allegations. She said she’d noticed several “red flags” regarding his relationship with the girl.

Detective Jason Pollock next interviewed McCoy at the Madras home he and his wife have shared with more than 60 biological, adoptive and foster children. McCoy told Pollock when the girl started puberty, he and her started playing the “tickle game.” He estimated they played it about 50 times over the past three years, often as a form of punishment.

McCoy told the detective the girl had replaced his wife in his heart.

“Michael told me when he would tickle her he would be sexually aroused,” Pollock wrote in the affidavit.

Pollock pressed him for more information.

“Michael told me I was right that he was not being completely honest,” Pollock wrote. “He said he was like an ‘onion’ and I had to peel one layer at a time back and he was not ready to talk about all of what happened.”

Days later, a police child forensic interviewer spoke with the girl at her new home in Idaho. She confirmed McCoy had touched her numerous times, including on her breasts.

In addition to raising four biological children, McCoy and his wife, Linda, have hosted approximately 50 foster children in their home, including many with serious medical conditions and developmental disabilities.

McCoy could have received up to 30 years in prison, according to his petition to plead guilty.

He was represented by Bend attorney Casey Baxter, who did not return a call seeking comment.

— Reporter: 541-383-0325, gandrews@bendbulletin.com