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A city of Corvallis Public Works employee was booked into the Benton County Jail on Monday on 42 counts of sexual abuse.

Richard Leroy Knudson, who lives in Philomath, sexually abused a minor girl between the months of September 2017 and February 2018, according to a charging document filed Tuesday in Circuit Court by state prosecutors.

The victim is under 14 years old, according to the document.

Knudson is a current Public Works employee, said Patrick Rollens, public information officer for the city of Corvallis. Knudson is a surface water management systems specialist in the wastewater plant, Rollens said.

Benton County Sheriff Scott Jackson said the alleged victim reported the abuse to authorities Sunday. Detectives interviewed Knudson on Monday and took him into custody following the interview.

Jackson said Knudson was a volunteer at the Philomath Youth Activities Club and helped coach the girls’ varsity softball team at Philomath High School.

Philomath School District Superintendent Melissa Goff said Knudson is a former volunteer assistant softball coach. She said Knudson has not been affiliated with the Philomath School District since spring 2017. 

Anyone with additional information is asked to call Sgt. Chris Duffitt at 541-766-6858.

Knudson appeared at his arraignment hearing via videoconferencing from the jail. Judge David Connell entered not guilty pleas to all the charges on Knudson’s behalf. Knudson had applied for a court-appointed attorney but did not qualify, the judge said.

Connell imposed $3.5 million security in the case.

Knudson is charged with two counts of first-degree unlawful sexual penetration, 12 counts of second-degree unlawful sexual penetration, 12 counts of first-degree sexual abuse, 14 counts of second-degree sexual abuse, one count of third-degree sexual abuse and one count of public indecency.

The judge set Knudson’s next court hearing for 8:30 a.m. on Thursday.

Philomath Express Editor Brad Fuqua contributed to this report. 

Lillian Schrock covers public safety for the Gazette-Times. She may be reached at 541-758-9548 or Follow her on Twitter at @LillieSchrock. 


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