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Salem coach charged with sex crimes against girls

Donald Mansell is accused of sexually abusing two girls who were students at Livingstone, one in 2010 and 2011, another in 2013 and 2014.

<p>Donald Mansell was arrested and charged with three counts of third-degree sexual abuse related to crimes that allegedly took place when he was at the Livingstone Adventist Academy, a Seventh-day Adventist school in Marion County. (Marion County jail)</p>

SALEM, Ore. -- Donald Ernest Mansell, 37, a former boy’s basketball coach at the private Livingstone Adventist Academy, has been arrested and charged with three counts of third-degree sexual abuse.

Mansell, who did not return calls seeking comment, turned himself in to authorities March 24 and was released the same day on a $15,000 bond. A warrant was filed for his arrest Nov. 5, 2015. The criminal investigation of Mansell’s conduct by the Marion County Sheriff’s office began in May 2014.

Sheriff's deputies didn't try to arrest Mansell because they were unaware there was a warrant out for his arrest, said Lt. Chris Baldridge, a sheriff's department spokesman.

"In this case we failed to follow up with the prosecutor and did not know the warrant had been issued. We are in the process now of reviewing our procedure to ensure this type of mistake does not happen again," Baldridge wrote in an email.

The office manager at Livingstone Adventist Academy, a K-12 Seventh-day Adventist school on Fruitland Road NE, said Wednesday that Mansell had been the school's director of financial operations, athletic director and boy's basketball coach.

Mansell is the son-in-law of Marion County Circuit Court Judge Vance Day. In a 2009 civil suit, Mansell retained Michael Dye as his attorney — the same attorney Day hired for his misconduct hearings in January. Day was investigated and tried by the Commission on Judicial Fitness and Disability for ethical violations from the bench. The commission unanimously recommended Day be removed from his judgeship. His case is now before the Oregon Supreme Court, which oversees judicial discipline.

Baldridge, the sheriff's department spokesman, said Mansell's relationship to Day did not affect the investigation.

For the charges relating to Livingstone, Mansell has hired Jeffrey M. Jones, of Jones & Maison. The firm did not return calls seeking comment. The Oregon Conference of Seventh-Day Adventists, which runs Livingstone, declined to comment on the allegations.

Circuit Court documents detail the allegations against Mansell. He is accused of sexually abusing two girls who were students at Livingstone, one in 2010 and 2011, another in 2013 and 2014. An investigator’s report from the sheriff’s office lists a third girl as a potential victim.

"We believe there may be more victims of sexual abuse or harassment during Mansell’s tenure at the high school," said Chris Best, an attorney representing one of the victims.

The investigator's report says the initial police report stems from an incident where one 16-year-old victim asked to speak about her grades with Livingstone faculty and Mansell volunteered to talk with her. They met in his office with the door closed.

The report says he allegedly began asking the victim sexual questions and solicited sex from her. The victim started surreptitiously recording audio of the conversation on her iPod, which has subsequently been given to the police.

The victim, according to the report, emailed the audio recording to the principal, Trevor Kendall, who forwarded it to Carol McLeod, the school’s associate superintendent. McLeod then reported it to the sheriff’s office. Mansell was placed on administrative leave.

Detectives have seized Mansell’s office computer, and are continuing the investigation. Mansell is scheduled to be arraigned on April 7.

Statesman Journal reporter Carol Currie contributed to this report.

gfriedman2@statesmanjournal.com, 503-399-6653, on Twitter @gordonrfriedman or facebook.com/gordonrfriedman

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