The Portland State Campus Public Safety Office has made arrests in several criminal cases that occurred during spring quarter. One of the cases was a sexual assault that occurred on June 8 at 3:40 p.m. CPSO and the Portland Police Bureau responded to a report that a female student was followed from the transit mall into Neuberger Hall by an unknown suspect, who entered the elevator with the victim and then sexually assaulted her. The victim was able to strike the suspect, causing him to flee, and the victim was not physically injured.
Suspects arrested in multiple springtime CPSO cases
The Portland State Campus Public Safety Office has made arrests in several criminal cases that occurred during spring quarter.
One of the cases was a sexual assault that occurred on June 8 at 3:40 p.m. CPSO and the Portland Police Bureau responded to a report that a female student was followed from the transit mall into Neuberger Hall by an unknown suspect, who entered the elevator with the victim and then sexually assaulted her. The victim was able to strike the suspect, causing him to flee, and the victim was not physically injured.
Detective Matt Horton, hired in January 2013 to be the lead investigator on sexual assault cases for CPSO, was called out to the campus to respond when the case was first reported on June 8. He then worked the case through the weekend until around 6:30 a.m. the following Monday.
“With the energy we put into [investigating] this at the beginning of the case, we were able to facilitate the arrest of the suspect within 36 hours of the initial report,” Horton said.
“We had great cooperation from the transit police and were able to get images of the suspect right away,” CPSO Chief Phil Zerzan said.
The suspect, described as a white male approximately 6 feet 1 inch tall with a medium build and green eyes who was well groomed with a shiny bald head, was identified as Nate Justin Wheeler, a 40-year-old male from Northwest Portland.
On June 11, at 3:40 a.m., CPSO and PPB contacted Wheeler at his residence while executing a search warrant and subsequently arrested him. Wheeler was indicted on two counts of first-degree sexual abuse and is currently lodged at the Multnomah County Detention Center.
This is the first Measure 11 crime CPSO has worked since hiring Horton, Zerzan said.
“There were limitations and bumps along the road, but the way this case progressed is a model [of] how these investigations should occur,” he said.
Part of that model is putting the victim in contact with advocacy resources on campus as soon as possible, which is one of the first things Horton did.
“From the beginning of the case, the victim was connected to advocacy resources [on campus],” Horton said.
“It’s part of our protocol with these cases that victim advocates automatically get called out to respond,” Zerzan said.
Another arrest was made in the case of a male subject who indecently exposed himself on campus. The suspect would speak to students and faculty to get them to come closer to him, then drop his pants and touch his penis. He had a very unique tattoo of a black square on his pelvis and was identified as 41-year-old Peter Hart Henderson after being arrested in Beaverton for similar crimes.
Horton was taking at least two charges of felony public indecency on Henderson to the Multnomah County district attorney on Tuesday, June 18.
“One of our victims confirmed Henderson’s identity when looking at a six-photo lineup,” Horton said. “And due to [Henderson having] prior convictions of public indecency, he will be charged at a felony level.”
CPSO also made an arrest in the many cases of laptop theft that occurred over spring quarter.
CPSO arrested Joshua Frank Farrell, a 26-year-old Portland resident, on multiple charges related to the thefts of laptop computers from students studying in Millar Library.
The timely warning posted on CPSO’s website stated Farrell was known to CPSO officers and had been previously excluded from Portland State. He was identified as a suspect in at least three separate thefts of laptop computers from the library on May 3, May 11 and June 5.
According to the timely warning, on June 6 at 8:33 p.m., Officer Jon Buck observed Farrell on campus and, after a short foot pursuit, arrested Farrell on multiple charges, including first-degree theft, two counts of second-degree theft, three counts of second-degree trespass, and second-degree burglary. In Farrell’s backpack at the time of his arrest was a laptop computer that had just been stolen from a student at the library.
An arrest was also made in one of the burglary cases at the Broadway Residence Hall. On May 4 at 12:30 a.m., a female resident and her two friends confronted a male subject leaving the resident’s room as they were about to enter. A resident of Broadway has been arrested for that burglary.