Trial Begins For Perverted Eugene Cop Roger Magana: Media is Shut Out
Police even get special treatment after they have been charged with sex crimes.
Jurors are settling in for a long trial in the case against former Eugene Police Officer Roger Magana.Prosecutor Bob Lane started this morning by displaying a blown up image of a Eugene police officer badge.
He told jurors "The power that comes with that badge is what this case is all about."
He then outlined some of the testimony jurors can expect to hear from alleged victims in the weeks to come.
Defense attorney Russell Barnett kept his opening statement short, focusing on the Eugene Police Departments's high-tech ability to keep tabs on it's officers.
"He's either the slickest guy working with the dumbest people or perhaps the accusations don't add up."
The six man, six woman jury and four alternates began hearing testimony from alleged victims this afternoon.
They will hear from as many as 80 defense witnesses throughout the trial including from people with authority who had heard before about Magana's alleged abuse but took no action.
Prosecutor Lane describes several of the alleged victims as having drug and mental health problems and others who are very different.
He says they all were carefully chosen as easy targets for intimidation and abuse.
Magana faces 52 charges ranging from official misconduct to rape.The trial continues Tuesday.
link to kval.com
The prosecution started by outlining the allegations against former officer Roger Magana from ten different women. Deputy D.A. Bob Lane grouped the alleged victims into two categories. One, women known to police, through prior arrests or calls, for things like drug or alcohol offenses, prostitution or domestic abuse. The other women, according to Lane, fall into the category of being in "the wrong place at the wrong time." This includes a sub-category for a teenager who went on several ride alongs with the former officer.
The prosecution's key evidence includes Magana's business cards, which Lane says were given to many of the women after the alleged attacks. Also, Magana's cell phone bills, which were sent to a P.O. Box, and paid for in cash. Lane says, this was done to hide from Magana's wife, the quote "thousands of calls" going to other women.
Lane also points to Magana's police notebook, which contains some of the alleged victims names and phone numbers. And, a woman's sweat pants, stained with semen, that the prosecution claims, can be linked to Magana.
The defense attacked the credibility of the alleged victims. Attorney Russell Barnett says, the women have a "MOB" mentality. He says, they have a "Motive": money (many are suing the city). They have an "Opportunity": an accused officer. And he claims, they have a "Bias": many had run-ins with the law before, and don't like the police department.
Barnett also argued, how could Magana hide these acts from the department, he was even promoted to training officer during this time. Barnett said, "He's either the slickest guy working with the dumbest people, or perhaps the allegations don't add up."
The prosecution also called its first witness this afternoon. Testimony will continue next week. It could take as long as six weeks before the defense has a chance to present its witnesses.
Journalists live for close ups. Sometimes, you get more than you ask for, as was the case with accused killer Stella Kiser in 1999. She spat at our photographer.
But, look for a shot of Roger Magana, the former Eugene police officer accused of sex abuse, and you'll likely find only one, at his arraignment last December.
Lane County Court Administrator David Factor explains, "Our interest, number one, is ensuring the security of the courthouse, of the people involved in this case, and all other people involved in the matter."
The press is viewed by some in the courts as a disruption. Currently, all cameras are kept behind a yellow line in the courthouse, but for the high profile Magana trial, there's a new set of rules posted.
Now, no location within the courthouse is available for taping or broadcasting of news reports. That means all interviews must be done outside. Plus, photographers will not have access to photograph Magana upon arrival or departure from the courthouse or jail. Factor says, "It's a little different from our usual practice in anticipation of the high interest from the media and the public."
But even Kip Kinkel had more photo op's than Magana, at his arraignment, and, as he was transported from jail to the courtroom. Factor explains, "We've learned things in how we handle high profile cases since that time."
What they say they've learned, is that cameras and reporters interrupt the day to day business at the courthouse. While it may appear to some Magana is getting special treatment, the courts assure us, it's because of the high profile nature of the case, not his former job as a police officer.
Roger Magana faces 52 charges including sex abuse, rape, sodomy, coercion, and abuse of power. He pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
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