Prosecutor outlines slavery, kidnapping case against Plantae co-founder

Anderson

A successful Bend-area cannabis grower was in Deschutes County Circuit Court on Thursday to face a slew of charges — 20 in all — that included strangulation, involuntary servitude and kidnapping, which falls under Oregon’s Measure 11 sentencing law for violent crimes.

The case against Andrew James Anderson, 32, stems from a three-way relationship he and his wife had with an employee at their company, Plantae Health.

In arguing for a $100,000 bond, prosecutor Kelly Monaghan called Anderson’s alleged behavior a “long and disturbing timeline of abuse and manipulation.”

The Deschutes County District Attorney’s Office sought the high bond due to the serious nature of the charges and fear from the two alleged victims, whose 12 hours of recorded testimony is the basis of the state’s case.

Anderson’s defense attorney asked that the bond be set at $50,000, citing his client’s lack of a prior criminal record and his cooperation in the investigation.

In the end, Judge Randy Miller split the difference and settled on $75,000, giving Anderson until the end of the day to post it.

As Anderson walked from the courthouse in a dark, tailored suit and his hair slicked back, he asked the public for understanding.

“You know, it’s innocent until proven guilty,” he told The Bulletin. “Don’t crucify me.”

During the arraignment Thursday, Monaghan described the state’s case against Anderson.

Anderson and his wife, Jocelyn, were married in 2015, the same year they founded Plantae Health, one of the area’s first recreational marijuana dispensary chains.

The Andersons lived in a home outside their pot farm in Prineville. Around this time, Jocelyn Anderson was chairwoman of the Bend chapter of Women Grow, an all-female cannabis-industry business group.

One of Anderson’s budtenders, Kristen White, was going through a divorce and moved into the couple’s home.

“She and the Andersons soon entered into a polyamorous relationship,” Monaghan told the court.

During an 18-month period, White told investigators she witnessed numerous instances of Anderson physically abusing and manipulating his wife, Monaghan explained to the court. Andrew Anderson is alleged to have taken Jocelyn’s phone and possessions, and on one occasion, dragged her from their house and locked her out.

But as the Andersons’ marriage unraveled, Jocelyn Anderson left Oregon for her native California in July 2017 and filed for divorce a month later, according to filings from the couple’s ongoing divorce case.

After Jocelyn Anderson left, White continued her relationship with Andrew Anderson, and this is when White says his abuse toward her escalated, Monahgan told the court.

White alleges that while she was in Anderson’s home, she essentially worked without payment, other than having a roof over her head. She said she acted as Anderson’s driver and managed his dispensaries in Madras and Prineville without ever receiving a paycheck.

In August 2017, White applied for a restraining order against Anderson. But over eight attempts to serve him with the order, Anderson made it clear to deputies he would not make himself available to receive it, Monaghan told the judge.

Anderson later convinced White to drop the restraining order. He put her up in a hotel while the dismissal was being finalized, according to Melanie Kebler, an attorney with Oregon Crime Victims Assistance representing White in this case.

“Your honor, it’s part of a pattern,” Kebler told the court Thursday. “My client has told me many statements about Mr. Anderson, and there is concern about him coming to court and following the court’s orders in this case.”

Kebler said that after Jocelyn Anderson left her husband, he tried to convince White to leave the country with him to leave his legal troubles behind and make it difficult for his wife to finalize the divorce. They even began the passport application process, Kebler said.

Though the restraining order White requested in August ultimately was never served to Anderson, a separate one — filed in January — was.

Anderson was arrested in March. He was called to appear in court in April, but by that point, the state had yet to file charges, so Anderson left court a free man. After the case went to grand jury in April, the Deschutes County District Attorney’s office mailed a notice informing him of the charges.

Miller on Thursday ordered Anderson to have no contact with his wife, White or any of their immediate relatives.

Anderson didn’t object to the no-contact orders.

“My client certainly would not want to contact either Mrs. Anderson or Kristen White,” said Anderson’s attorney, Ronald Hoevet. He added Anderson hadn’t attempted to contact either since they left his house.

Because the state alleges Anderson engaged in violent behavior while impaired with alcohol, the judge further ordered him to not consume it during trial. He was also ordered not to possess firearms. But Miller stopped short of agreeing to ban Anderson from consuming marijuana pending trial.

“I understand that would be onerous,” he said.

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

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