A Clark County deputy prosecuting attorney who resigned last month was charged Tuesday with the attempted patronizing of a prostitute.
Jeffrey W. Holmes was charged with the misdemeanor by Skamania County’s prosecutor, who was asked by Clark County’s prosecutor to review the case to avoid a conflict of interest.
Holmes will be summoned to appear in Skamania County Superior Court on Aug. 2.
Holmes, 31, had worked at the Clark County Prosecutor’s Office since December 2006, and most recently prosecuted felony domestic violence cases.
It was an allegation of domestic violence on May 8 by Holmes’ ex-girlfriend that led to his downfall, according to police reports obtained this week. Responding to a public disclosure request, Skamania County released 382 pages of police reports on the domestic violence and prostitution investigations of Holmes.
While sheriff’s deputies ultimately found the domestic violence case to be unfounded — authorities said Holmes had a solid self-defense claim — a cellphone seized as part of the investigation revealed numerous emails between Holmes and prostitutes. The emails explicitly talked about sex acts and prices.
Attempts to reach Holmes this week were unsuccessful.
The emails, where Holmes went by the name “Esquire 81” and responded to adult online ads, spanned 2010 to this spring, according to police reports. When initially questioned by Clark County sheriff’s investigators May 23, Holmes denied patronizing any prostitutes.
To several questions, Holmes said, “I do not feel comfortable answering that,” or admitted to perusing the sites but said he did not meet anyone, according to police reports.
On May 26, Holmes contacted detectives and said he wanted to change his initial statement after thinking it over. He met with two sheriff’s detectives on May 29 and gave a taped statement, admitting that on four occasions he paid women for sex acts — a prostitute who went by “Miss Oral Queen” twice and two others named “Miami” and “Bailee,” according to police reports.
Holmes told detectives that he was struggling over a breakup with his fiancee at the time and had “made really poor choices,” according to police reports.
“I guess all I’m really willing to say about that period of time between July of 2010 and April of 2011 is it was a difficult time for me, and I probably made some decisions that I shouldn’t have,” according to an interview transcript obtained by The Columbian.
Time limited options
Holmes went on to describe the four meetings and sex acts with prostitutes, two of which occurred in Vancouver and another two in Portland. He said all the acts stopped in April 2011.
The statute of limitations for patronizing a prostitute, a misdemeanor, is one year, meaning Holmes could not be prosecuted for those acts, detectives said in police documents.
However, detectives found several additional email exchanges between Holmes and more prostitutes in early 2012, where he requested pictures and indicated he wanted to meet the women. Detectives questioned him about those emails; Holmes said he may have exchanged messages with the prostitutes, but did not follow through with meeting them.
“I didn’t want to lose my job. You know, I didn’t want to go to jail. I didn’t want to get in trouble at all,” Holmes said in the interview transcript. “It ended up affecting my life, and that’s not the person I am. I mean, it’s not the type of person I wanted to be. And so there’s conscious decisions that I made not to follow through on anything, you know, and discontinue with emails.”
No charge for fight
The domestic violence allegations arose when Holmes’ then live-in girlfriend called police about a ring she had left at Holmes’ apartment. She told the officer she wanted her ring back, and then said that Holmes had slammed a door on her arm and leg during their breakup. Later interviewed in person, she had abrasions on her arm and leg and a bruise, according to police reports.
The woman said she initially did not want to report the tussle with Holmes because of her boyfriend’s legal career and the fact that he had told her, “I have a good rapport with the officers and nothing would happen,” according to police reports.
After further investigation, detectives found evidence that the woman had apparently assaulted Holmes during the incident — Holmes had minor injuries — and Holmes told the detectives that he had slammed the door as she was striking him, according to police reports.
Detectives seized Holmes’ cellphone because he told them that he had video recorded several of his girlfriend’s outbursts, according to reports.
Skamania County Prosecutor Adam Kick said he did not pursue an assault charge against Holmes because, “it would have been very difficult to overcome his very plausible self-defense claim.”
The attempted patronizing a prostitute charge relates to Holmes’ alleged email exchanges with prostitutes in the past year, which are within the statute of limitations, Kick said.
Resigns post in June
Clark County Prosecutor Tony Golik said Tuesday that he was made aware of the allegations on May 23 and placed Holmes on administrative leave that day. Holmes submitted a handwritten resignation letter to the prosecutor’s office on June 8.
Golik declined to comment further, citing the active criminal case against Holmes.
Mark Makler, attorney for the Clark County Deputy Prosecutors Guild, said Holmes chose to resign instead of enter into arbitration hearings about his employment because he did not want to make the case public and taint the reputation of the office.
“He did not want it to be a black eye on the office,” Makler said.
Attempted patronizing of a prostitute carries a maximum sentence of 90 days in jail and $1,000 fine.