Tribal Government & News

Longtime Tribal Security employee arrested, charged with sexual abuse

02.12.2019 Dean Rhodes Public safety
Juan Jose Sifuentez

By Dean Rhodes

Smoke Signals editor

SALEM -- Longtime Tribal Security employee Juan Jose Sifuentez, 54, was arrested by the Salem Police Department on Thursday, Feb. 7, and charged with two counts of first-degree sexual abuse.

Sifuentez works for the Tribe as Security Supervisor in the Engineering & Public Works Department. His current employment status is unknown.

“The Tribe does not comment on personnel issues,” said Deputy Press Secretary Sara Thompson on Tuesday, Feb. 12.

Sifuentez is being held in the Marion County Correctional Facility on $100,000 bail. His first court appearance occurred on Tuesday, Feb. 12, in Marion County Circuit Court and he is scheduled to enter a plea on Tuesday, Feb. 19. He is being represented by Salem attorney Martin Habekost.

Sifuentez has worked for the Grand Ronde Tribe for more than 20 years as a Tribal employee and as an employee of two previous contracted security firms, ProStar and Advance.

According to amended charging documents on file with Marion County Circuit Court, Sifuentez is accused of two incidents of alleged inappropriate touching of a girl younger than 14. The alleged incidents occurred between August 2014 and January 2016.

He also was issued a no-contact order regarding the victim.

According to Oregon law, first-degree sexual abuse occurs if the victim is younger than 14 and is subjected to force or is incapable of consent because he or she is mentally defective or incapacitated or physically helpless. It is a class B felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison with a mandatory minimum of 6 years and 3 months.

“We are disheartened to learn of Mr. Sifuentez’s recent arrest in Marion County,” Thompson added via an e-mail statement. “While we are unaware of the specifics surrounding his arrest, we are monitoring the situation and will cooperate with any investigation if needed.”

Marion County District Attorney Paige Clarkson is prosecuting the case.

In the meantime, Tribal members can contact Lead Security Officer Roel Hernandez regarding Security Department matters at 971-901-1031, ext. 2183, during the day and 503-437-113 after hours. He was named interim Security Supervisor for the foreseeable future on Wednesday, Feb. 13.