Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Halloween Happenings: Brian Cole Cited for Furnishing Alcohol to a Minor

Last update 8:50 PM, 11/3/09.

Baker City has been abuzz since former Economic Development Director and former County Commissioner, Brian D. Cole, was cited by Baker County Sheriffs Deputy, Gabe Maldonado, for Furnishing Alcohol to a Minor on Halloween evening, 10/31/09. Officer Maldonado was checking on the presence of a parked vehicle at the rural fire station on Pocahontas Road. Inside the vehicle, officer Maldonado found Cole, 47, and a juvenile female under the age of 18. According to the Sheriff’s press log, Cole was cited for furnishing alcohol to the minor and released. While there was no mention in the press log of a citation being given to the juvenile, both Officer Maldonado and Baker County District Attorney Shirtcliff confirmed that the 17 year old was cited for Minor in Possession (MIP). The incident occurred just two driving miles from Cole’s home, which is situated overlooking Baker City, on Deer Park Loop, off Western Heights Lane.

Cole Home on Deer Park Loop

Pocahontas Station, Rural Fire Protection District

Furnishing alcohol to a minor is a Class A misdemeanor in Oregon, and, if convicted, Cole could receive the maximum penalty of one year in jail and a $6,250.00 fine. A minor convicted of MIP faces a minimum fine of $299.00 and a maximum fine of $427.00. A person convicted of MIP may also lose their driving privileges for up to one year, depending on the circumstances. These fines may have been increased by recent legislation.

According to District Attorney Shirtcliff, due to Mr. Cole’s extensive contacts in Baker County, the case has been turned over to the Oregon Department of Justice for investigation. Sean Riddell from the Attorney General’s office will handle the case, and he will take it to Circuit Court for trial on the misdemeanor charge, if he thinks there is sufficient evidence to warrant it. Mr. Riddell, an ex-marine, was appointed by Oregon Attorney General John Kroger to lead the Oregon Department of Justice’s Criminal Justice Division on July 23rd, 2009. Mr. Riddell said that the case would only go to the Grand Jury if the investigation turned up evidence of a possible felony, in which case the Grand Jury would look at the evidence to decide whether an indictment was appropriate. In either case, he indicated the case would be tried in Circuit Court. (For information about Sean Riddell, see: http://blogs.wweek.com/news/2009/07/23/john-kroger-names-kroger-like-criminal-chief-for-oregon/#more-32205) When asked if any sobriety tests had been administered, the DA simply said he could not get into the facts of the case. There are currently no other charges, pending investigation.

Sheriff's Press Log Entry

Brian Cole has been a respected and active member of the community, and until about a month ago, had been regularly attending the Baker City Church of the Nazarene on east Hughes Lane in Baker City. Another member of the Nazarene Church, Youth Pastor Dean Barnes, was convicted of three felonies having to do with the sexual abuse of two 16 year old female parishioners, after his arrest by the Baker City Police Department on October 20, 2008.

In addition to his work in community and hydropower development, Mr. Cole has long been the announcer for Baker High School sporting events, and an avid supporter of the women’s high school sports teams coached by his revered wife, Suzy. His two children are also involved in high school sports and sometimes the family entertained or attended outings with members of the women’s teams. These are thought to be the conditions that brought Mr. Cole into contact with the minor he is charged with furnishing alcohol to.

My information indicates that Mr. Cole was not under consideration for the City Manager job opening in Baker City, despite his work in economic development and his stint as County Commissioner.

One rumor that has been going around is that the juvenile involved in the Brian Cole case was also involved in the Dean Barnes case. My information indicates that the juvenile involved in the Cole matter was not involved at all with the Barnes matter. We must all withhold judgement until the investigation in completed, and the case has gone through the courts. [Public documents later revealed that she was in fact a victim in the Barnes case.]

You can find information concerning Mr. Cole's civic involvement and resume, along with his photograph, at Orbis Group, Inc. (http://www.orbisgroup.org/overview_about.php), Symbiotics LLC (http://www.symbioticsenergy.com/company/principals/brian_cole.html),
and in numerous articles to be found in a search at the Baker City Herald (http://www.bakercityherald.com).

For a discussion of Oregon Alcohol Laws and Minors, See:

Baker County Blog has been updating this article today, and in any event, will post more relevant information as it becomes available. Last update 8:50 PM, 11/3/09.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

man this is so creepy... dean barnes and now brian cole? think there is a ring of perverts started up over at that church or something?