KENNEWICK — A Benton County judge reduced bail Thursday for a former police officer accused of offering girls money to perform sex acts but refused to go as low as a defense attorney wanted because "these are terrible offenses."
Judge Robert Swisher set bail at $250,000 for Ryan Graichen, 35, of Kennewick, who resigned from the Portland police force in 2007 during an investigation.
Graichen sobbed and looked back at his family in the audience when the judge denied his request for $50,000 bail.
His lawyer, Nicholas Jones, explained it still would be difficult for his client to raise that amount but said it was reasonable. He proposed placing Graichen on electronic home monitoring or ordering him to stay away from certain areas, particularly Columbia Park, where the crimes allegedly occurred.
Premium content for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
But Deputy Prosecutor Anita Petra implored Swisher to keep the bail at $500,000, saying there is new evidence on film seized from Graichen's home that reportedly shows two "young women" in his living room.
The allegations are that Graichen had approached three teenage girls in the park June 13 and offered them each $300, alcohol and marijuana if they would go back to his house and be filmed while he performed a sex act.
"Simply put, he is still a threat to our community," Petra said.
Graichen was arrested by Kennewick detectives in December after he was identified by four girls in connection with two separate incidents last summer.
In the second incident, he confronted a teen boy and girl June 15 and asked them if they were interested in going back to his home and putting on a show for him, court documents said. He offered the girl $500 if she would watch him masturbate, documents said.
When police searched Graichen's home, they reportedly found a locked gun safe with 14 guns and 30 DVDs and a mini video cassette.
Officers also seized a binder with pictures of teen girls in bikinis and other more explicit photos, court documents said. Some of the girls appeared to be 15 to 16.
Graichen has pleaded innocent in Benton County Superior Court to two counts of sexual exploitation of a minor and three counts of sexual abuse of a minor. Trial is set for Feb. 14.
Graichen was hired by the Portland Police Department in 1998 and was a school resource officer when he came under investigation nine years later for filming high school girls at a school dance and basketball games and zooming in on their private areas, according to news service accounts.
A statewide police policy panel later revoked his police certification for violating the state's moral fitness standards for police.
Jones, in asking for the lowered bail, said Graichen has been a Benton County resident for four or five years and has had "gainful employment" for three years with a Richland cabinet and floor covering company. His client is not a flight risk because that job still is available if he can get out of jail, he said.
The $500,000 bail is "a more punitive amount than anything," argued Jones, who said these weren't violent crimes because there are no allegations that bodily injury was inflicted.
Jones also said he would like to get some outside evaluations and counseling for Graichen.
On a $30,000-a-year salary, "it might as well be a no-bail hold," Jones added. "I think even $50,000 is pushing it."
The judge agreed that $500,000 was too high, but noted that the victims likely did not know Graichen and these "terrible offenses" were uninvited.
"I'm assuming that these allegations are true. I don't know that they are, but I'm entitled to ... " said Swisher, who told the attorneys he had read the two-page probable cause affidavit in the case. "No one was hurt, but the potential was there for big-time problems."
* Kristin M. Kraemer: 509-582-1531; email@example.com