Gustafson out on lower bail; now faces 9 abuse charges

Placed under house arrest, with GPS monitoring

POSTED: 6:31 PM PST January 15, 2014    UPDATED: 6:43 PM PST January 17, 2014 
More charges in Bend abuse case
BEND, Ore. -

A Bend judge on Thursday reduced the bail amount for a 49-year-old Bend gymnastics coach accused of abusing four young girls, leading to his release from jail a short time later.

The judge said he must stay under house arrest, wear a GPS monitoring device and follow other restrictions.

Deschutes County Circuit Judge Roger DeHoog lowered the bail for Richard Gustafson from $300,000 to $200,000, although that was still twice the amount sought by his defense lawyer. He posted 10 percent, or $20,000, and was released from jail, an officer confirmed Thursday evening.

Gustafson was arrested last week on two counts of first-degree sex abuse involving two girls, 8 and 9, who attended a New Year’s Eve sleepover at Acrovision, which he founded 20 years ago and is now the co-owner of.

He now faces nine counts of first-degree sex abuse involving four victims ranging in age from 8 to 10 years old. Deputy District Attorney Jonathan Char said in court the charges stem from three sleepovers Gustafson held at the business, including two earlier ones, in the spring of 2012 and last Halloween.

Char also provided new details of the allegations during the half-hour hearing. He said the facility has a loft, to which he invited a few select students during the sleepovers. During the course of the evening, he would sleep next to the girls, during which the abuse allegedly occurred.

At least two of the victims came forward after Gustafson’s arrest, saying they now felt safe to do so, according to the prosecutor.

Char had sought a higher bail, of $500,000, due to the additional alleged victims and charges. He read into the record two letters from one victim’s family, saying they and their daughter were concerned, even fearful of seeing Gustafson and want him to remain in custody. Another victim’s father spoke in court, sharing the same sentiments.

But defense attorney Jon Springer argued for a lower bail, of $100,000, saying Gustafson had no prior convictions, is a long-time businessman in the community and is not a flight risk. Gustafson was arrested on a DUII charge in Linn County, but completed diversion classes, Springer said.

Upon release, the judge said Gustafson is not allowed to have contact with any children outside his family, or be at Acrovision. Also, since Gustafson owns a small plane, Forte said he must surrender his pilot’s license if released.

Springer said a search warrant was executed Wednesday night at Gustafson’s home to recover a computer and other electronic devices. The defense lawyer expressed dismay that he had just received discovery documents in the case from prosecutors moments before Thursday’s court session.

Gustafson’s next hearing was scheduled for Feb. 7.

Bend police are still asking anyone with information that could help in the investigation to contact Detective Tom Russell at (541) 322-2986 or Deschutes County dispatchers at (541) 693-6911.