Corvallis man accused of molesting three children

The sex abuse trial of Corvallis resident Richard Montgomery started Monday in Benton County Circuit Court, with the prosecution alleging that - for years - the

73-year-old molested three elementary school-aged sisters and their brother.

"He would tell me, 'This is our secret. Don't tell anyone,'" testified the eldest sister, moments before crying and covering her face with her hands as she sat on the witness stand.

"He would rub me in places I didn't want him to," she added. She said she told him to stop. "Sometimes he would stop. Sometimes he wouldn't," the girl said.

Montgomery faces 13 counts of first-degree sexual abuse and one charge of first-degree unlawful sexual penetration. The court trial is being argued before Judge Locke Williams, and there is no jury.

First-degree unlawful sexual penetration is a Measure 11 crime that carries a mandatory minimum sentence of more than eight years in prison. First-

degree sex abuse has a mandatory minimum sentence of more than six years in prison.

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Montgomery, a married former Chemeketa Community College economics instructor, was in a position of trust with the youngsters and was in frequent contact with them.

Deputy District Attorney Karen Stanley said back rubs would turn into "tummy rubs" and then escalate into touching the child in a sexual fashion.

Defense attorney Jennifer Nash said that normal caretaking behavior by Montgomery was misinterpreted as abuse.

She added that the children's statements have changed, and that two of them initially denied that they were abused but changed their stories when they were pressed.

The eldest sister was the first witness to testify on Monday morning, and said the abuse happened over four years. Her testimony, however, also included new details about the alleged crimes that hadn't been disclosed to the defense, such as that Montgomery allegedly had her touch his private parts.

Nash pointed out the inconsistency.

"You got asked that question lots and lots of time, but every time you were asked you said, 'No,'" Nash said.

Kyle Odegard can be contacted at kyle.odegard@lee.net or 758-9523.

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