Oregon sheriff’s sergeant pleads guilty to assault

Vancouver resident injured stepson during May 2012 altercation




A Clackamas County, Ore., sheriff’s patrol sergeant pleaded guilty Wednesday in Clark County Superior Court to assaulting his 23-year-old stepson last year.

Steven P. Hyson, 47, of Vancouver made his plea less than a week after he was arrested on accusations that he violated conditions of his release by contacting his wife, listed as one of the victims in the May assault case.

Hyson pleaded guilty to fourth-degree assault and harassment. He originally was charged with second-degree assault and fourth-degree assault. He will be sentenced Tuesday by Judge John Nichols.

As part of the plea bargain, he’s also required to plead guilty in Clark County District Court to two counts of violating a no-contact order. His district court case can’t be resolved until after his sentencing, said Deputy Prosecutor Jennifer Nugent.

Hyson pleaded not guilty May 15 to assaulting his wife, Lora Hyson, and his stepson, Austin Oliver-Brown. He slammed his stepson’s head into a wall during an argument on May 1, shoved Lora Hyson and caused property damage at their home, according to charging papers.

Oliver-Brown said the 2012 conflict arose when he questioned Hyson about why he allowed his 12-year-old son to yell at Lora Hyson.

This led to an argument between Hyson and the stepson, then 22, on the front porch of the home. Hyson reportedly ripped the stepson’s T-shirt and tried to provoke him to fight by saying, “Go ahead and hit me” and “Are you a tough guy?” according to court documents.

Oliver-Brown told investigators that as he attempted to walk away, Hyson grabbed him by the head and shoulder and spun him into the side of the house, according to a detective’s probable cause affidavit.

Hyson’s wife called 911, and Oliver-Brown was treated at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center for a broken cheekbone. Hyson turned himself in to Clark County sheriff’s deputies May 3. He was released after he posted $30,000 bail.

Hyson was arrested again March 21 and jailed without bail after he allegedly confronted his wife over details she disclosed during an interview with his attorney in preparation for Hyson’s trial, which is now canceled given his plea. Hyson also was accused of repeatedly trying to persuade his wife to tell the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office that he was innocent of the previous charges.

Lora Hyson said she was forced to return in November to the family home in the Sifton neighborhood after she was evicted from her apartment, according to court records. The documents indicate she couldn’t pay the rent because her husband had failed to make spousal support payments.

On March 20, Steven Hyson became enraged after hearing what Lora Hyson had told his attorney, Thomas Phelan, earlier in the day, according to charging papers.

Hyson allegedly confronted his wife, and told her that what she had said would cause him to lose his job and his house. He then allegedly grabbed her by her upper left arm and threw her on their bed before leaving the home for the night.

The court documents state that the next morning, he returned to the home, and the couple argued. Lora Hyson told her husband she was going to leave and began to pack items for her and the couple’s 5-year-old son. As she reached for a Wii gaming system, her husband allegedly grabbed her left hand and pulled it away from the device. She yelled at her husband to let her go. After he released her hand, she called Oliver-Brown, and told him what happened.

Steven Hyson has been on leave from the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office since his arrest. His leave was converted to unpaid leave in September, according to Clackamas County sheriff’s spokesman Deputy Nate Thompson. Thompson said he was not authorized to reveal the reason for the change because it’s a personnel matter.

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