Union County – (Information provided by the Union County District Attorney’s Office) On September 27, 2021, the Defendant, Joseph Ainsworth, was sentenced to 175 months of prison by Union County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Powers after the conclusion of two separate bench trials which took place over multiple days in July and August of 2021.
This case was initiated in July of 2020 when the mother of two female juveniles reported to law enforcement that her two daughters disclosed to her that they had been sexually abused by their stepfather, the Defendant, over the course of several years. This abuse was alleged to have occurred in multiple states, including Oregon.
On July 23, 2020, the Defendant struck his two juvenile male sons, one in the face and the other in the leg. The juvenile males were taken to Grande Ronde Hospital where medical staff observed bruises on each of the males.
A joint Sheriff’s Office/DHS investigation was initiated on July 24, 2020. Deputies Kyle Witty and John Sutten and Case Worker Jasmine Smith investigated the allegations. Katie Greathouse of the Mt. Emily Safe Center conducted the forensic interviews where all four juveniles disclosed abuse. The Defendant was arrested on August 4, 2020, and was lodged in the Union County Jail on several felonies and misdemeanors.
On August 12, 2020, the case was presented to the Grand Jury which returned an indictment. After plea negotiations reached an impasse, the Defendant rejected the State’s plea offer and requested a trial on September 8, 2020.
At the request of the Defendant, Judge Powers severed the case into two separate trials. The first trial concluded on July 12, 2021 when the Defendant was found guilty of two counts of Assault in the Fourth Degree relating to the juvenile males. The second trial concluded on August 10, 2021, when the Defendant was found guilty of two counts of Sexual Abuse in the First Degree and two counts of Sexual Abuse in the Third Degree relating to the juvenile females.
The Union County District Attorney’s Office would like to thank all of the employees of the Oregon Department of Human Services, Mt. Emily Safe Center, Union County Sheriff’s Office, and Union County Victim Assistance Program who investigated testified at trial, and assisted in the presentation of this case. The DA’s Office would also like to extend a special thank you to the juvenile victims in this case who dared to come forward and talk about the abuse.