Cop has ‘moved on’ from video of teen girls
A Portland police officer assigned to Madison High School filmed female students at a school dance and basketball game and made his own "Girls Gone Wild" video, which included zoom-in shots of girls’ "breasts and crotch areas," an internal Portland police inquiry found.
Officer Ryan E. Graichen, 31, who was hired by the Police Bureau on Sept. 10, 1998, resigned Aug. 24 in the face of being fired.
This month, a statewide police policy panel unanimously voted to recommend that Graichen’s police certification be revoked, concluding that he violated the state’s moral fitness standards for police. The panel’s recommendation now goes to the full board of the Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards and Training for action in April.
Dave Burright, executive director of the Oregon State Sheriff’s Association who sits on the state agency’s police policy committee, made the motion to revoke Graichen’s police certification.
"I found that his conduct was something that was just completely unacceptable, and I didn’t find his explanation credible," Burright said.
Portland police discovered the misconduct when Graichen’s sergeant asked to see what he thought was Graichen’s copy of a professional "Girls Gone Wild" video, which typically shows women removing clothing or acting in a sexual nature. Graichen accidentally handed over his knockoff version, filmed at a local high school while on duty.
Portland Chief Rosie Sizer said the allegations were reported from within the department. She called it a serious situation that was fully investigated. Two sergeants also received letters of reprimand for requesting a sexually suggestive tape from another officer, but the bureau would not name them.
Sizer said the Police Bureau won’t tolerate sexual banter, or sexual discussions in the workplace, and has taken appropriate disciplinary action. Graichen’s "Girls Gone Wild" DVD was seized as evidence and remains as part of the internal affairs investigative file, police said.
"There was nothing illegal about it," said Sgt. Brian Schmautz, police spokesman. "It was just in really bad taste."
"I’ve moved on"
Graichen, reached by phone at his home in Pasco, Wash., Thursday night, said he’s put the incident behind him. "This was from four years ago. I resigned on my own accord. I’ve moved on with my life," he said. "I have no interest in being involved in the corrupt world of police work."
In a memo to the state training agency’s police policy committee, Graichen said he gave the "Girls Gone Wild" DVD to a sergeant because he felt "intimidated" after his supervisor repeatedly asked to borrow a tape.
Graichen said he was "shocked, angry, embarrassed and remorseful" when confronted by his supervisors and has since sought professional counseling, according to state documents.
A Portland police internal affairs investigation revealed that the filming occurred sometime in 2003, a few years prior to its discovery, and occurred over a period of days.
Graichen told investigators his actions were the result of a "just stupid spur of the moment decision" after he had possession of a newly purchased video camera at work.
Graichen had been a Portland officer assigned to the school police division since Oct. 25, 2001. Most of that time, he was assigned to Madison High School and its feeder schools.
The Portland Public School’s own school security division was advised of what occurred when Graichen was removed from his post in the fall 2005 and placed in the Police Bureau’s telephone report unit while an inquiry got under way, said Dennis Tune, interim director of the school security division.
Robert King, president of the Portland Police Association, declined to comment on the case.
In interviews with internal affairs investigators and a memo to the state panel, Graichen said he filmed the female students at a dance and basketball game at the students’ request. He transferred the footage, which focused on their private areas, to a DVD and titled it "Girls Gone Wild."
When transferring the material, Graichen said he realized "the complete inappropriateness and how wrong my actions were" so he threw it in a crawlspace under his home. When his wife discovered pornographic material in his possession, he said, he gathered up what he had to take to the dump.
Police official unconvinced
When he was in the process of selling his house, he said, he discovered some DVDs that hadn’t been destroyed, boxed them up and placed them in his attic, intending to destroy them. Graichen’s "Girls Gone Wild" DVD featuring local high school teenagers turned up when he inadvertently handed it to a sergeant who asked for a copy of a professionally made "Girls Gone Wild" video.
Burright said he found Graichen’s explanation implausible. If Graichen really intended to destroy the video, Burright asked, why would he have placed it in his attic?
"Well, I’m sorry," Burright said. "I don’t believe a word of it."
Portland Assistant Chief Brian Martinek, who voted as Sizer’s designee on the policy committee, said members agreed that the behavior involved was unacceptable.
Graichen, in a seven-page letter to the state agency’s police policy committee, wrote that his relationship at home was in turmoil after an officer-involved shooting. On Aug. 23, 2000, Graichen was present when a fellow officer shot and killed a 71-year-old man following the man’s confrontation with a cable TV worker who was trying to disconnect his service.
Graichen said he was dedicated to his school resource officer assignment but in 2003 made "a series of poor decisions," according to a synopsis of his letter presented to the committee.
Theresa King, the state training agency’s professional standards coordinator, pointed out to the agency’s police policy committee in a written memo that Graichen cooperated with investigators and was remorseful but also that his role as a school officer was a significant aggravating factor.
"Graichen was in a position to serve as a role model and protect the children at the high school," King wrote, "and he took advantage of his position."