Tigard ‘rafting missionary’ arrested on sex abuse charges

Crime

Deputies say Jerry Nesseth may have abused more young women through his work at local church

A booking photo of Jerry Nesseth. (WCSO)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A 58-year-old Tigard man is accused of sexually abusing at least one person he met through his work at a local church, authorities said.

Jerry Nesseth was arrested in May after Washington County deputies responded to reports of a sex abuse case. The victim reportedly said she’d been abused by Nesseth in 2019 near a hospital in Portland.

Deputies said Nesseth met his victim through his work at a local church. He most recently worked as a “rafting missionary” with Oregon Adventure Ministries.

Nesseth was arrested on May 12 on charges of 3rd-degree sex abuse but has since been indicted for 1st-degree sex abuse — a Measure 11 crime.

Washington County Deputy Brian Van Kleef told KOIN 6 News the victim needed time before she felt comfortable filing a police report, but she wanted to make sure this doesn’t happen again.

“In this case the victim is a woman in her 20s who knew Mr. Nesseth as an acquaintance at a church that they both attended and the abuse happened in a situation where she felt he was in a position to help her in a situation that she was in,” Van Kleef said. “Unfortunatelyn that didn’t go well and she ended up being abused by him.”

The investigation continues and more victims may be in the community, he said.

“It’s possible that there are other victims in the community given that our suspect works with a rafting ministry.”

Anyone with information related to the case is urged to contact the Washington County Sheriff’s Office at 503.629.0111 and reference case number 50-21-6672.

KOIN 6 News reporter Jenny Young contributed to this report.

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