A Bend man accused of pleasuring himself while on duty as a care provider for a boy with disabilities was found not guilty of his most serious charges — a blow to the district attorney who’d made the case a personal crusade.
For choosing to fall asleep instead of monitoring a 13-year-old boy, Craig Michael Randleman was found guilty Wednesday in Deschutes County Circuit Court of two counts of misdemeanor reckless endangering.
He was found not guilty of the sex offense of private indecency and two counts of felony first-degree criminal mistreatment.
The victim’s mother said she was “satisfied” with the ruling, in part because it sheds light on the problem of care providers who abuse trust positions with children with developmental disabilities.
“I would have preferred him held accountable on all charges,” she said. “But what we’ve done is give my son a voice.”
On April 11 and 12, home security cameras captured Randleman, 55, napping in a chair in the boy’s home for around a half-hour each day.
He was seen April 12 masturbating to porn on his phone while seated in the same chair.
This footage was played numerous times over Randleman’s two-day trial, along with audio of Randleman’s apologies and admissions to an arresting officer.
Randleman’s attorney tried to show his client was napping conscientiously — listening for noises from the boy, or, as Randleman put it on the witness stand, “resting with one ear open.”
Testifying in his own defense, Randleman never referred to it as “sleeping,” instead saying he had been “resting” or “napping.”
Reading his decision Wednesday, Judge A. Michael Adler said he didn’t buy “this fantasy about napping with one ear open.”
“He put his book down, took his glasses off — the video clearly shows it,” Adler said. “The defendant knowingly went to sleep.”
The child, now 15, has cerebral palsy, epilepsy, a coordination disorder and intellectual disability, and he is nonverbal and incontinent. At the time of his arrest, Randleman had been a one-on-one provider for the child for about two years.
District Attorney John Hummel had made the case a personal crusade, adding charges to Randleman’s indictment and arguing the case himself at trial.
“(The victim) is not defined by his disabilities,” Hummel said in his closing statement. “But he needs help. Most important, Your Honor, he needs to be monitored around the clock so he doesn’t hurt himself. You know what else he needs, Your Honor? He needs a care provider who does not masturbate to pornography a mere 15 feet away from him. In that regard, he’s just like every other kid.”
But in the end, Adler ruled Hummel hadn’t proved beyond a reasonable doubt that the boy — who was on the ground 15 feet from Randleman and behind a couch — had been exposed to what Randleman was doing. To the charge of criminal mistreatment, Adler said he didn’t find that Randleman left the child alone long enough that it was “likely” he would suffer serious physical injury.
Asked for comment, Randleman said he was sorry to the Bend community before he tearfully hugged his attorney and biked from the courthouse.
His sentencing is scheduled for April 1.
In his closing statement, Erick Ward said the case represents why he became a defense attorney.
“In all earnestness, this case reminds me why I love the practice of law,” Ward said. “In addition to a worthy adversary in Mr. Hummel, and a client I like and respect, this case represents some fascinating intellectual challenges.”
Like most vexing criminal cases, Ward said, this one elicits a strong initial emotional response.
“But when you really start weighing the conduct against the standards you find that the charges don’t really apply,” he said.
— Reporter: 541-383-0325, firstname.lastname@example.org