Crime

Ex-Portland cop says stress led to Kennewick sex crimes

KENNEWICK — Ryan Graichen claims it started in 2000 when a shotgun was pointed at him while working as a Portland police officer and he watched his partner shoot the suspect dead.

That incident kept playing in his mind like a movie, yet the sights, sounds and smells all were real.

To escape the daily flashbacks and sleepless nights, the married man turned to his computer during a required leave from work and found adult pornography.

"It allowed my brain to escape to 'a different world,' and brought my brain and body pleasure, and shut off the daydreams and bad thoughts," he wrote.

Graichen is now facing a lengthy prison term for numerous sex crimes in Kennewick, including approaching girls under 18 for sex acts and paying an underage girl to participate in different sexual activities at his home.

He told what he called "my story" in a 49-page handwritten statement to Washington Department of Corrections staff.

He also was interviewed as part of the presentencing report, and claims he already has been punished and "suffered greatly" and shouldn't be locked up with sex offenders because "it makes me sick."

Graichen does not believe he falls into the sex offender category, though he agrees he needs treatment and counseling for his post-traumatic stress disorder, and porn and sex addictions.

The report is a public document in Graichen's court file.

Graichen told Community Corrections Officer Katti Foltz that "the root cause of where he is now is due to what he experienced as a police officer."

He claims his internet searches for porn started "as a coping mechanism for traumatic events he witnessed" as a cop, and escalated to videotaping girls' private areas during a school basketball game and dance while he was a school resource officer. He eventually resigned from the Portland Police Bureau amid a disciplinary investigation.

Seven years later -- after failing to get help for his nightmares because he didn't want to be labeled a "wimp" -- Graichen found himself offering money, alcohol and marijuana to teen girls in Kennewick's Columbia Park in exchange for being filmed while he performed a sex act, court documents show.

He also advertised on Craigslist for a bikini model and paid a teen girl to pose in lingerie and eventually for sex, documents show.

Graichen, 36, faces sentencing Jan. 27 in Benton County Superior Court after pleading guilty in October to two counts of sexual exploitation of a minor and five counts of commercial sex abuse of a minor.

The plea agreement reached with Deputy Prosecutor Anita Petra, and Graichen and his defense lawyer Nicholas Jones calls for a 10-year prison recommendation.

Yet, Graichen asks for a sentence that "promotes justice based on what actually happened, or the lack thereof, and the ages of the victim, and not solely on what the law says."

He adds that a decade is "too punitive, unjust and unfair" given what he describes as a commendable background as a cop and his limited criminal history.

He suggests if confinement is mandatory he be confined to a hospital for treatment, or also said he should get a decade of "strict community custody, with mandatory counseling."

"The good I have done in my life speaks to the person I can be," said Graichen, who claims prison will only institutionalize him, and he should get a chance to help himself and others so he can again be the person he once was.

He said he pleaded guilty to "honor his late father's request to take responsibility for his actions and so he can see his children again someday." He talks about one day wanting to enter law school or possibly enlist in the Army.

"Graichen has shown he has total disregard for the laws of society and the safety of the individuals in the community," wrote Foltz, the pre-sentencing report's author. "Graichen can be quoted as stating 'laws are flawed.' "

She said Graichen cried throughout his interview with her.

"However, not once did he mention his tears were for the victims of his current offenses," she wrote. "It appears his tears were for the traumatic events he claims to have witnessed as a police officer, his relationships with females, not being able to see his kids and what he believes he deserves as a sentence."

Graichen, a Portland officer from 1998 to 2006, first approached a teen girl and her boyfriend in Columbia Park in May 2010. He repeatedly tried to get the young couple to come back to his home, where he would give them beer, marijuana and $500 if they would perform sex acts or let him masturbate, court documents show. The couple said no and eventually walked away.

The girl reported the incident to Kennewick police a month later.

In June, he also confronted two other girls in the park and asked if they liked to party and smoke marijuana, documents show. His offer included $200 for each girl to star in a pornographic movie with him, and he reportedly opened his wallet to show a large bundle of $100 bills.

The girls declined, walked away and called police.

Graichen was not identified as the park suspect until December 2010. Officers searched Graichen's home after his arrest and seized his computers.

That's when investigators learned of an underage girl that Graichen had met through a Craigslist ad in June 2010. Graichen never asked for identification to show her age, and on each encounter he gave her $100 to $300 for everything from modeling to sex, according to court documents.

Officers also found in Graichen's home illicit videotapes and pictures of the girl taken before she turned 18, documents said.

One of the park victims told Foltz with the Department of Corrections that she was scared when Graichen confronted her and was worried he was going to kidnap and kill her. She said Graichen should go to prison for a "long time" and be forced to register as a sex offender to understand how much is has affected her.

Graichen "chose to do this ... he is older ... it's scary as he could have taken me," the victim said.

Graichen wrote that both he and his lawyer "strongly feel that this case has been over-aggressively prosecuted, made much larger than it should have been, and a media circus because of the fact I used to be a police officer five-plus years ago."

He states that he's been "a normal, law abiding (other than these allegations), tax paying citizen" for the last five years, working to cover his bills and his child support.

Yet the presentencing report shows that in September 2008, he pleaded guilty in Benton County District Court to disorderly conduct and failure to supervise a child, both misdemeanors. He got three days in jail with 87 days suspended.

He reportedly left his young children home alone while going to look for his girlfriend after the two had an argument. After she got home, Graichen confronted the woman, punched a hole in the wall and pushed her down while she was holding a child, the report says.

Foltz said Graichen is not a candidate for the Special Sex Offender Sentencing Alternative for the current case. That's because he did not have a relationship with any of the four victims before the encounters and "he does not admit to the full aspect of his convictions," she said.

The only sentencing option available, Foltz continued, is going with the 120-month recommendation, which provides for the maximum protection of the victims and the safety of the community.

She added that even though sex offender treatment won't be a requirement with the sentence, Graichen will be in prison long enough to enter and complete a program.

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