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News / Northwest

Ex-Oregon prison nurse convicted of sexually assaulting women in custody gets 30 years

By Associated Press
Published: October 17, 2023, 6:51pm

PORTLAND — A former nurse convicted of sexually abusing women in custody at an Oregon prison has been sentenced to 30 years in federal prison.

Tony Klein’s sentence handed down Tuesday also includes five years of supervised release after prison, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office — District of Oregon. He had faced a possible life sentence.

A federal jury in July convicted Klein on 17 counts related to sexual assault and four counts of lying under oath involving nine women. Jurors found he deprived the women of their constitutional right to not face cruel and unusual punishment while they served time at the Coffee Creek Correctional Facility south of Portland in Wilsonville.

He worked as a nurse at the facility from 2010 until 2018, interacting with women in custody who either sought medical treatment or worked in the prison’s medical unit. Prosecutors said Klein sexually assaulted many women entrusted to his care, making it clear to them that he was in a position of power and that their reports about it wouldn’t be believed.

Klein resigned as Oregon State Police was investigating the assault allegations.

Klein, 39, denies sexually assaulting anyone and his lawyers have said Klein plans to appeal the sentence. He didn’t testify at trial.

His attorneys, Amanda Alvarez Thibeault and Matthew McHenry, suggested during the trial that Klein was the victim of a plot by women in custody to get financial settlements from the state.

The jury reached a unanimous verdict “after careful consideration,” jury foreman Patrick O’Halloran said in July.

Prosecutors said Klein abused his position and abused women, violating the public’s trust, while doing everything he could to avoid getting caught.

“Holding Tony Klein accountable for his crimes would not have been possible without the courage and resolve of the women he abused and the dedication of our partners at the FBI and Civil Rights Division,” Natalie Wight, U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon, said in a statement.

Numerous women since 2019 have sued the state Department of Corrections and Klein alleging sexual abuse. The state has settled at least 11 of them and paid out a total of $1.87 million while admitting no wrongdoing.