Portland cop sentenced to work crew for threatening wife’s boyfriend




A Portland police officer was sentenced Thursday to 15 days on a work crew for threatening his estranged wife’s boyfriend in her Vancouver apartment.

James Botaitis, 40, of Yacolt pleaded guilty in Clark County Superior Court Judge David Gregerson’s courtroom to gross misdemeanor harassment and possession of a deadly weapon in exchange for reduced charges.

He will receive credit for one day served in jail.

Botaitis’ attorney, Josephine Townsend, said the plea agreement resulted from new information that Botaitis’ wife had been untruthful about what happened on the night Botaitis threatened her boyfriend, who is a registered sex offender.

Botaitis initially was charged with second-degree assault with a deadly weapon, first-degree burglary and harassment for entering his wife’s apartment Oct. 24, 2011, and threatening her boyfriend, David Bacus. Botaitis and his wife are now divorced.

Botaitis was scheduled to be tried on the charges Feb. 19. However, investigators learned that Botaitis’ wife had invited him in her apartment the night of the crime and didn’t tell him that Bacus was inside, Townsend said. Townsend said Botaitis’ wife also didn’t tell Botaitis that Bacus had moved into the apartment with her. The original report had been that Botaitis forced his way into the apartment, Townsend said.

Bacus was convicted in Clark County in 1999 for first-degree rape of a child and sentenced to eight years in prison. He reportedly raped a young relative over seven years, starting when she was 5.

A court parenting plan related to Botaitis’ divorce ordered Bacus not to have contact with Botaitis’ 8-year-old son because Bacus is a sex offender.

John Botaitis, James Botaitis’ brother, told The Columbian in October 2011 that his brother was trying to protect his son.

Botaitis is a nearly 12-year veteran of the Portland Police Bureau. He was placed on paid administrative leave and surrendered his police-related powers during the court case.

Pete Simpson, a Portland police spokesman, said the conclusion of the court case means the police bureau now can conduct an internal investigation. That investigation will help the police bureau decide whether Botaitis may return to his duties, Simpson said.

Paris Achen: 360-735-4551; http://twitter.com/Col_Courts; http://facebook.com/ColTrends; paris.achen@columbian.com.