Redmond Oregon is the type of place that people like to say that they are from. A sleepy town wrapped in the mountains of central Oregon with a population of around 15,000 souls. A town small enough not to have traffic congestion, but large enough not to be absent of good schools, culture, entertainment, and perhaps a place to hang out on a weekend. That is just what Kevin Driscoll was doing on the night of Friday January 23rd at the Fireside Lounge where he and his friend, Pete, were having a late night drink. They started a conversation with a woman buy the name of Melissa Leahy-Rossow and her acquaintance, Dennis Baker. The foursome closed the bar. Afterwards Kevin invited them all to come over to his house for a night cap in his hot tub.
On Sunday the 25th the news broke from the local television station:
Redmond man jailed on rape, assault charges
Posted: Jan 25, 2009 01:19 AM EST
Kevin Dennis Driscoll
By Kate Paul, KTVZ.COM
A 30-year-old Redmond man was arrested Saturday on rape and four other charges in an alleged assault that occurred more than 24 hours earlier, police said.
Redmond Police detectives also executed a search warrant on the home of Kevin Dennis Driscoll as part of the investigation of an alleged sexual assault that occurred in Redmond early Friday morning, said Det. Sgt. Cory Chase.
Driscoll was arrested around noon in Redmond and taken to the Deschutes County Jail, where he was booked on first-degree charges of rape, sodomy, sex abuse and unlawful sexual penetration, as well as fourth-degree assault. Initial bail was set at $382,500.
At a northwest Redmond home, Driscoll allegedly took advantage of a young woman he’d met just hours before.
Police say Driscoll and the young woman met at a bar early Friday morning.
After a few too many, the pair left with a group to go hot-tubbing. That’s when police say things got way out of hand, and Driscoll got aggressive.
Neighbors of Driscoll said Monday they were stunned to learn a nearby resident would do something like that. They said most in the area are easy-going and keep to themselves.
“It’s quiet you know, and nice, nice people – nice neighborhood to live in,” said Alfredo Arreola. “But you never know who’s around.”
It’s a family-oriented neighborhood because of its location, right next to an elementary school, raising serious concerns and fears for parents on Teak Street.
“You’ve got to be more careful and check on the Internet to see who’s around,” Arreola. “Because you’ve got to take care of your little ones.”
That was it, a one hundred and four word press release indicting a man in front of his whole community and terrorizing an entire neighborhood. Furthermore, a fax was promptly sent to KevinÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s employer the next day informing them of his arrest which would lead to his suspension and eventually his termination. Guilty or not, KevinÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s life will never again be the same.
The investigation started with the requisite photos of bruises on the womanÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s body, the absence of which would have led to him not being arrested and not having his name broadcasted all over the news. Also, there was the documentation of the account she gave of events as follows from a Forensic Report dated April 23rd 2009:
“Briefly, per the police reports, the alleged victim had been to at least two lounges late on the evening of January 22 and early in the morning of January 23, 2009. She indicated that she had drunk Ã¢â‚¬Å“to the point of intoxication.Ã¢â‚¬Â She and a number of other individuals went to a house for the purpose of Ã¢â‚¬Å“hot tubbing.Ã¢â‚¬Â After being in the hot tub she reportedly went to lie down on a bed in one of the bedrooms and sometime later the defendant joined her in the bed. Reportedly the defendant then sexually (vaginally and anally) and physically assaulted her, including biting. She reported two separate sexual assaults by the defendant with him standing at the foot of the bed after the first assault in some fashion to keep her from leaving. During the first assault she reportedly struck the defendant; however during the second assault she did not attempt to resist. The defendant subsequently gave her a ride to her car and provided her his name and phone number.”
The set of photos were documented as being taken at the police station and nowhere else. All other photos in a rape case are supposed to be part of a regular set of photos taken at a hospital where the Ã¢â‚¬Å“rape kitÃ¢â‚¬Â is performed. No photos were ever provided to the forensic expert or to KevinÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s attourneys that were specifically identified as the photos taken at the hospital.
The stories differed significantly. Included in her account was her trip to KevinÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s house in a taxi, one which several eyewitnesses and video refute. Excluded in her account was the documented fact that she had sex with her acquaintance, Dennis Baker, in the hot tub, a fact that she denied at first and then later admitted too when she realized that there was an eyewitnesses to that event. Dennis account of events, as described in a written statement taken by a Brian Buchanan, include that he and Mellissa went over to KevinÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s in a friendÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s car and not long after had some limited sexual contact in KevinÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s driveway, something that was caught on a video from a camera affixed to KevinÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s garage. Later, according to the same statement they found themselves alone in the hot tub out back where she aggressively initiated sex with him. During the encounter Dennis noticed some bruises on her body and asked where they came from to which she did not reply but only Ã¢â‚¬Å“turned her head to one side Ã¢â‚¬Å“ avoiding eye contact Ã¢â‚¬Å“like she did when she was nervous.Ã¢â‚¬Â In this same document, Dennis points out that he is Ã¢â‚¬Å“friendsÃ¢â‚¬Â with her husband and that he doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t believe the events at DriscollÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s house occurred as described by his wife. According to her husband, the document notes, they had to move away from the town they were living in previously because of bogus charges filed by her that ruined their reputation.
Shortly after they had finished having sex others joined them in the hot tub and they reported staying there for a long time. Kevin had gone to bed while the others had been in the hot tub and trusted his friend Pete to look after things. Mellissa exited the hot tub and wearing nothing but a hooded sweatshirt was seen heading towards KevinÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s room. Dennis, before leaving some time later, looked through the house for Mellissa calling her name and upon not hearing anything decided that she may have gone home with one of the others and left himself. Driscoll stated that she unexpectedly came into his room when it was dark and pursued sexual relations with him. He said that they had sex twice, once when she first entered the room and once just before they left the morning after. Early the next morning video footage from the camera affixed to KevinÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s garage documented Kevin entering his car and having it warmed up before Mellissa entered it on her own volition and they drove off. Later footage from a camera near the Fireside Lounge where her car was still parked showed Kevin giving Mellissa his phone number before saying goodbye.
After his release from jail Kevin got an attorney, Ted Coran, who specializes in sexual assault defense cases and the original trial date was set for June 6th, 2009. Coran assured Kevin that as soon as DennisÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ account of what had happened was presented that the charges would be dropped and Kevin would not have anything to worry about. District Attorney Welsh Ashby was originally assigned to try the case but not long after the case was scheduled a new prosecutor was assigned and immediately it was rescheduled to September 22nd. The new prosecuting tourneyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s name was Jody Vaughan.
Jody Vaughan has had a storied past in the Oregon Criminal Justice System. She has been practicing since 1986 and was an assistant DA in Josephine County until 2004 when she got the same job in Deschutes County where Driscoll was booked. While in Josephine County she prosecuted a case in which a 65 year old man by the name of T.J. Burris of Hugo Ore. Burris was sentenced to twenty years in prison for a crime that he and many others say he did not commit. Burris, then an elder at the First Assembly of God church in Grants Pass, Ore., was accused by his granddaughter of beating and sexually abusing her. Two trials were held for this particular case the first of which he was found not guilty. Apparently, the not guilty verdict wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t good enough for Vaughan and her boss, Timothy R. Thomson, who boasted a 95% conviction rate in their county. In spite of a confession by the alleged victim between the trials that the allegations were false Vaughan and Thomson were able, through the testimony of the parents of his granddaughter, who had a well documented past of fraud as well as other crimes, to convict Burris and he spent the next eight years behind bars with the remainder of his sentence being served as a parolee. There are no less than six complaints filed against Vaughan during her career as a prosecutor and she is also famous for aggressively prosecuting DUI cases in the county. Thomson has since taken the job of Union County D.A. and has worked for the Oregon Department of Justice.
The treatment of the forensic evidence in the Oregon v. Driscoll case mirrors the cavalier attitude towards testimony and evidence shown in the Burris case. When KevinÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s attorney approached Vaughan in order to procure further photos supposedly taken at the hospital as part of a routine rape kit procedure they were not forthcoming. A document dated January 27th 2009 from the Redmond Police Department was given to KevinÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s attorney stating that Leahey came down to have additional photos taken. Stating that Ã¢â‚¬Å“photos had already been taken and she didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t see the need for more to be takenÃ¢â‚¬Â she only volunteered to have those injuries not in her vaginal area photographed. When approached by Coran about the photos of her vaginal area Vaughan stated ambiguously that the photos were either lost or were part of the set that he already had of the bruises examined by the forensic expert on April 23rd. Ã‚Â Coran was incredulous. To date there are no photos of her vaginal area that show any trauma to the area.
Furthermore, the forensic report prepared on the 23rd of April clearly states that the bruises appeared to be much older than would have occurred anytime the alleged events happened due to coloration of the wounds. Also, the report said of the alleged bite mark on the upper right chest that Ã¢â‚¬Å“this area of the body is not protuberant and I think it would be difficult, if not altogether impossible, to create a bite mark in this region without a corresponding bite mark.Ã¢â‚¬Â Put simply, there are no pictures of the alleged injury to the vaginal region, a forensic expert who had excellent credentials and was well published dismissed the injuries as having taken place the night of the incident and that it was doubtful that there were any bite marks and the presence of testimony by someone who was intimate with Leahey moments before the alleged incident occurred noted the presence of such injuries did not stop Vaughan from pursuing a conviction.
VaughanÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s treatment of the case as it pertains to trial dates and other alleged activities of Driscoll pending trial is also very curious, if not alarming. The trial has been delayed twice with the current date being set at November 3rd 2009. Since KevinÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s release from jail he has been under house arrest and wears an ankle transponder to monitor his movements. Vaughan has accused Driscoll of tampering with the transponder, something that KevinÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s case handler vehemently denies. Former girlfriends of Kevin who happened to not have very flattering things to say about him were corralled in front of the judge at a pretrial hearing in order to qualify them for testimony and the judge refused to let them testify. Allegations were also made by Vaughan that Kevin had made withdraws from ATMs in the area which can be proven false because they were made by his friend and sister and photos are easily procured from the bank cameras. Vaughan has also produced another Ã¢â‚¬Å“expert opinionÃ¢â‚¬Â to counter the forensic report. A general practitioner from the area who has no forensic experience has been scheduled to testify in the case in order to increase the likelihood of a conviction. Coran calls this a typical case of pitting one doctor against another in order to dissuade the jury.
The press has been extremely ambivalent about the case. Repeatedly, KevinÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s close friend, Angela Dundas of Bend Oregon, has approached local media outlets to tell KevinÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s story and referred them to the work of Joseph Snook, and investigative reporter that writes for a publication called the U.S. Observer that bills itself as a watchdog for Oregon public officials. One of their favorite targets is Vaughan who has apparently given them much fodder for articles in the past. KTVZ has been on record saying that they felt that the U.S. observer is little more than a tabloid and have told Dundas that their writers have a wild imagination. DundasÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ response has been that Ã¢â‚¬Å“they donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know anything that I didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know from the beginning.Ã¢â‚¬Â However, no coverage other than their original report broadcast on the 25th of January and that of the U.S Observer has been offered to the public about this case.