Thursday, July 9, 2009

Michael Forker Pleads Guilty to Child Porn

A man who worked at a shelter for runaway teens in Portland and was arrested six years ago in a child pornography case pleaded guilty last week after a long battle in the courts over evidence found on his computer.

Washington County Sheriff's deputies are now trying to find whether Michael Henry Forker, 31, lured children to his home and abused them, said Sgt. David Thompson, a sheriff's spokesman.

Forker lived at St. Mary's Woods Apartments, 4270 S.W. 159th Ave., in Aloha in 2003. He also lived for a time at Bonita Village Apartments, at 14650 S.W. 76th Ave., in Tigard.

Forker's Aloha apartment was searched in 2003 and evidence was found that led authorities to eventually accuse him of encouraging child sex abuse, Thompson said.

Thompson said Forker's attorney successfully argued that evidence gathered in the search of the apartment should be kept out of the trial. That caused the charges to be dropped, Thompson said, because the prosecution couldn't continue without the evidence that was found.

The decision to suppress the result of the search was appealed and in 2007 the decision was overturned. Thompson said the case was sent back to Washington County Circuit Court, and was set to go to trial on June 30.

Forker lost a number of pre-trial motions, including one to suppress evidence from the search. Forker then pleaded guilty to 10 counts of encouraging child sex abuse. He'll be sentenced on Friday, Thompson said.

When the case was first investigated, detectives found photographs that suggested Forker may have lured children to his apartment, but could not identify the children in the pictures, Thompson said. Detectives also found photos that were taken of boys in locker rooms they also couldn't identify.

Thompson said detectives are concerned that Forker may have victimized children who never reported it to authorities.

Prior to his arrest in late 2003, Forker worked at a shelter in Portland where runaway teens are able to receive services, Thompson said. He's been living in Sand Point, Idaho, for the last several years.

Anyone with information about crimes committed by Forker is urged to call Washington County Sheriff's Detectives at 503-846-2700.

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