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News Release
UPDATE: DA Mike Schmidt Announces Guilty Verdict for Michael Sperou in Third Trial of Sex Abuse Case - 06/20/23

UPDATE: Today, Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge Andrew Lavin sentenced Michael Sperou to 160 months in prison. Sperou is currently in custody in Multnomah County and will be transported to the Oregon Department of Corrections to serve his sentence. 

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Original Message (5/23/2023):

Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt today announced that a Multnomah County jury found Michael Sperou, 72, guilty of two counts of Unlawful Sexual Penetration in the First Degree. Sperou was a pastor who, from 1988-1996, repeatedly sexually abused seven young girls whose families were members of the church. By the time the case went to trial, charges related to six of the seven girls who reported abuse fell outside the statute of limitations. 
 

First Trial

Former Deputy District Attorney Chris Mascal tried the case in 2015, when all seven women were allowed to testify based on the recently decided State v. Williams case. The DA’s Office obtained convictions on all counts of Unlawful Sexual Penetration in the First Degree. However, in 2019, the Oregon Supreme Court overturned the convictions, finding that the use of the word “victim” by witnesses was impermissible. 
 

Second Trial

Senior Deputy District Attorneys (DDAs) Charles Mickley and Melissa Marrero tried the case in 2020. During this second trial, the primary victim (whose charges fell within the statute of limitations) testified about the unlawful sexual penetration and many other forms of abuse that she suffered at the hands of Sperou and within his church. The other six women remained committed to pursuing prosecution during the second trial, and some were allowed to testify about specific incidents of abuse. 

The jury delivered an 11-1 guilty verdict in January 2020. However, later that year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that guilty verdicts must be unanimous in trials for serious crimes (Ramos v. Louisiana), and the Oregon Supreme Court ruled that the Ramos ruling applies retroactively (Watkins v. Ackley), which set up a third trial.  
 

Third Trial

Senior DDAs Charles Mickley and Melissa Marrero again prosecuted the case. The trial took place in front of Judge Andrew Lavin from May 8 to 19, 2023. The 12-person jury delivered the guilty verdict on Friday, May 19, and Sperou is scheduled to be sentenced on June 20. 

Senior DDA Marrero commented, “It’s been a long and difficult road to today’s verdict for the victims in this case—all seven of them. The criminal justice system is hard on victims, and the strength and perseverance that the victim has shown through repeated trials is admirable and important. It sends a message that she will not be silenced, and that abusers will be held accountable. We’re thankful that the jury was able to see the truth, and that Ms. Clark and the other victims of Mr. Sperou remained committed to achieving justice over the near-decade that it took to get here. They are amazing women who went through the unthinkable, and their strength led to this result.”

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