In a rare display, Deschutes County’s outspoken district attorney personally went after the defendant Tuesday, in a graphic sex case involving a vulnerable victim, a mother betrayed and a defendant recently lauded as a hero.
John Hummel, who rarely appears before a judge, said the case is important to him.
“The victim’s mother told a compelling story about the impact on her and (her son) and what’s it’s like to raise a child with disabilities,” Hummel said.
Bend man Craig Randleman faces felony charges that he masturbated and slept for stretches while on-duty as an in-home personal care provider for a boy with significant intellectual and developmental disabilities. The case asks Judge A. Michael Adler to consider how aware the boy was of what was happening, and whether it matters.
Randleman, 55, was arrested in April and later charged with five criminal counts, including mistreatment and private indecency. An indecency conviction would mean Randleman must register as a sex offender for life.
Tuesday morning saw testimony from the Bend Police officer who arrested Randleman and the mother of the 13-year-old boy allegedly exposed to Randleman when he masturbated.
The boy’s mother spent considerable time describing the many medical conditions that affect her son, who can walk but requires near-constant supervision and care.
“He gets himself into situations in the home and outside of it where he can get in trouble,” the mother said.
In December, 2017, the boy suffered a major seizure and was diagnosed with epilepsy, she told the court. One way she adjusted to the diagnosis was by installing a home surveillance system, she said. The one she bought included two cameras and an app that notified her on her cellphone whenever movement was detected by the cameras. She set up one over her son’s bed in his bedroom and the other in her living room.
On April 13, she was at her other son’s piano lesson when she received an alert.
“I thought, ‘Oh good, they’re back from their walk,” she testified.
But what she saw on her phone shocked her.
“I drove home as fast as I could,” she said.
Back home, she asked Randleman to join her outside.
“Craig, you know we have cameras in the house?” she asked Randleman.
After registering surprise, he admitted to masturbating while she was away, she said.
She told him to leave and not return.
She called her son’s state caseworker, who notified police.
“I was quite troubled by this,” she testified.
Clips from the surveillance footage were played numerous times Tuesday.
On April 11, Randleman is seen sleeping for 28 minutes while he was supposed to be watching the boy.
Footage from April 12 shows him sleeping for 34 minutes before waking and falling asleep again, this time for nearly 4 minutes.
Another clip shows Randleman in a chair about 15 feet from the boy, laying on the ground on his stomach and looking at an iPad. Randleman can be seen masturbating to pornography on his phone for 2 minutes and 4 seconds.
After lunch, the defendant took the stand in his own defense.
At the time of his arrest, Randleman had worked for the boy and his family for about two years. He was their only care provider, and they were his only client.
Randleman worked most of his career as a mechanical engineer, moving to Bend about five years ago to remain with a company in the fuel cell industry that relocated here. He transitioned to social work about three years ago, when the company folded, and he was looking for a way to give back.
He said he regretted resting on the job, but said he did it “with one ear open,” so he could listen for noises from the child. He said he honed this skill as a parent and a grandparent and as the alleged victim’s care provider.
“I felt it was reasonably safe for me to rest,” he said. “It didn’t feel like I was putting (the child) in danger.”
Randleman said he was especially drained on April 12 due to a budding romantic relationship with a new woman, after years of bachelorhood following a divorce.
“We were up late the night before,” Randleman said, becoming emotional for the first time that day. “We had sex that morning too. I was quite physically aroused, as I hadn’t been in a sexual relationship for some time. That was my mindset at the time.”
On cross-examination, Hummel peppered Randleman with pointed questions, looking to expose inconsistencies in his statements to police, and making light of his explanations.
“He had a very special night with his new girlfriend,” Hummel said. “He suggested this was why he was so tired and aroused.”
Five years ago, The Bulletin and other media published stories when Randleman saved the life of a girl in Spokane, Washington, who was being attacked by a dog. For his heroism, he was awarded the Carnegie Medal by the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission.
Near the end of the day, Hummel’s IT technician played enhanced audio of the masturbation clip.
A female voice moaning and groaning sounded off the courtroom walls as the judge sternly looked on. Hummel said he only wanted to play the clip to counter a claim by Randleman that he was watching the pornography with the sound off, when this wasn’t the case.
“What’s the point of this?” the judge asked.
“The defense opened the door on this,” Hummel said.
Defense attorney Erick Ward objected to playing the audio clip, and much of Hummel’s other evidence throughout the day.
“The charges simply don’t fit the conduct,” Ward said in his opening statement. “Before the court are allegations of mistreatment and endangerment where the minor child in question was by all accounts well-fed, well-loved, uninjured and unaware, and completely unimpacted in every way.”
He called allegations of private indecency “sensational.”
“There was simply no exposure and no intent to expose and no awareness on the part of the child that any exposure existed,” Ward said. “Mr. Hummel is asking the court to infer a criminal mindset where none existed and ask the court to stretch legal definitions to fit the conduct and to speculate about the likelihood of harm.”
Hummel said the graphic content in evidence was disturbing, but necessary for the court to hear.
“It’s an unfortunate reality with the widespread nature of video cameras and people’s desire to commit sex crimes,” Hummel said.
The trial is scheduled to continue Wednesday morning with closing arguments.
— Reporter: 541-383-0325, firstname.lastname@example.org