PPB officer resigns, convicted of official misconduct

Jeromie L. Palaoro had been assinged East Precinct, remains on paid leave

Former Portland police officer Jeromie Palaoro pleads guilty to first degree official misconduct in Multnomah County Circuit Court, February 12, 2016. (Courtesy: Kristyna Wentz-Graff/Oregonian)
Former Portland police officer Jeromie Palaoro pleads guilty to first degree official misconduct in Multnomah County Circuit Court, February 12, 2016. (Courtesy: Kristyna Wentz-Graff/Oregonian)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN 6) – A Portland Police officer, who has resigned from the bureau, has been convicted of first-degree official misconduct.

Jeromie L. Palaoro was charged on Thursday over an incident with a woman visiting from Las Vegas.

According to court records, the incident in question happened in July 2015.

In court filings, the state claims Palaoro “did unlawfully and knowingly perform an act, which…constituted an unauthorized exercise of his official duties, with intent to to obtain a benefit” as an officer for the Portland Police Bureau.

According to a memorandum filed in the case, the misconduct occurred when Palaoro, who was on duty, used his personal cell phone and tried to arrange a “date” with the woman who he had met hours earlier when he responded to a call she had placed with emergency dispatch reporting a domestic disturbance.

The investigation into Palaoro, who had been assigned to the bureau’s East Precinct, started when a woman visiting Portland claimed the officer sent her inappropriate text messages, stripped in her hotel room and asked for sexual favors.

The woman – who is from Las Vegas – told authorities she came to Portland to visit her then boyfriend on July 1. Detectives confirmed that woman initially misrepresented both her name and age, according to documents obtained by KOIN 6 News. Staropoli said the woman has a credibility problem.

The woman told investigators she is a “sex counselor and teacher.”

Jeromie Palaoro in an undated photo from his Facebook page, seen on July 22, 2015
Jeromie Palaoro in an undated photo from his Facebook page, seen on July 22, 2015

On July 4, 2015, police responded to a domestic disturbance between the woman and her boyfriend. Records show that the two “have a tumultuous relationship.” They reportedly got into a fight and she claims that she was injured. Palaoro, officials said, was one of the responding officers to investigate the disturbance.

“On scene, Officer Palaoro spoke with (name redacted) and learned about her occupation as a sex counselor and tantric masseuse,” according to court documents.

According to police, at 10:19 p.m. on July 4, Palaoro “cleared the call” and concluded his investigation. Around 10:57 p.m., Paloro called the woman and left a voicemail for her to call him. They started to text one another at 11:24 p.m., according to records.

The next day, on July 5, around 1:30 a.m., Palaoro texted that it is “probably not appropriate” and offered to visit the woman or simply talk with her about personal matters, according to court documents. About 10 minutes later, Palaoro texted the woman that he “would like to be your company” and the two made arrangements for him to go to her Northwest Portland hotel room after he gets off work at 2 a.m.

Palaoro wound up working a bit later than he expected due to an officer involved shooting, but arrived at her hotel around 3:35 a.m., according to records.

Palaoro, by the woman’s account, stood up and “told” her that she was going to give him a massage. He then took off his clothes and got into a bed, according to records. The woman placed a towel over his rear and gave him a massage.

Palaoro spent about 7 hours with in the hotel room, based on cameras from the hotel, records show. The woman and her attorney filed a tort claim, notifying the city of a potential lawsuit on July 9, 2015.

On July 6, the woman went to the Portland Police Bureau’s Forensic Evidence Division to have photos taken of the bruising reportedly caused by her boyfriend. While there, she mentioned that Palaoro had wanted to come to her hotel for a “date” and that he was “unprofessional.”

Upon learning of the allegations, the bureau moved Palaoro from his patrol position and transferred him to the Personnel Division and placed him on paid leave.

According to Multnomah County Senior Deputy District Attorney Chris Ramras, the woman’s own account of events does not articulate criminal sexual behavior, but it does articulate unprofessional behavior that rises to the level of official misconduct. The woman allowed Palaoro to come to her hotel. She met him in the lobby. Ramras said there is “insufficient evidence” to truly understand what happened inside the hotel room and that’s why Palaoro was not charged with any crimes pertaining to what happened inside the hotel room.

“It is clear from text messaging between the two that Ofc. Palaoro had offered to come see her after he got off work,” Ramras writes in court documents. “Officer Palaoro stopped his attempts to engage her in sexual conduct once she told him to.”

On Friday, Palaoro appeared before Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge Eric J. Bergstrom and pleaded guilty to the charge. As part of the plea agreement reached with the DA’s Office, Palaoro will serve 18 months bench probation, resign from PPB and he will have his state certification to be a police officer revoked.

In court Friday, Palaoro did not make any statements but his attorney, Michael W. Staropoli, said his client accepts responsibility for the misconduct but adamantly denies the woman’s account of what occurred inside the hotel room.

“Mr.Paloaro accepts responsibility for his conduct.

“Nothing in this statement is intended to change that.

“Nonetheless, Mr. Paloaro adamantly denies and refutes Ms. Reid’s accounting of the incident. Even a cursory review of the reports reveals that Ms. Reid was untruthful with investigators and provided conflicting information to her own attorney.

“Again, none of this absolves Mr. Paloaro of responsibility for his own conduct, but it does provide meaningful direction for determining Ms. Reid’s credibility and the believability of her version of events.”

Portland Police spokesperson Sgt. Pete Simpson was aware of Palaoro’s case but could not immediately provide a statement due to the fact that the bureau’s command staff was in Seaside for the memorial of Seaside Sgt. Jason Goodding.

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