Bulletin Staff Report

The Washington state-based federal official accused of sexually abusing a coworker while drunk at a Sunriver rental home last year was in court to face a new charge — first-degree sex abuse.

Eric Rickerson, head of the Washington office of the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife, was arraigned Tuesday morning on a new indictment in a Deschutes County Circuit courtroom.

His trial on seven criminal counts, including three felonies, is scheduled for Aug. 21.

Rickerson, 52, is accused by a female coworker of groping her chest and thigh and kissing her chest while at a conference last July in Sunriver.

Following the retreat, the woman reported the alleged abuse to the DFW’s inspector general, and the agency’s inspector general contacted Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel. Rickerson was placed on administrative leave.

Rickerson’s criminal case went before a grand jury in September and a letter was sent to him notifying him of the charges.

Hummel has said alcohol was a factor in the case, and otherwise declined to comment.

But Rickerson’s indictment offers hints at the state’s case against him. He’s accused of “private indecency,” for allegedly exposing his genitals to the woman while she was in a place where she had a reasonable expectation of privacy. He’s accused of two counts of coercion, a felony, for allegedly instilling in his accuser a fear that if she didn’t go along with his advances, he would retaliate.

Rickerson is represented by Casey Baxter and Ricky Nelson.