Oregon court records show Washougal mayoral candidate Derik Ford was accused of domestic violence in 2015 and later sentenced to serve two years of formal probation and attend a domestic violence intervention program after violating a restraining order.
In May 2015, Ford’s then-wife filed for a restraining order to prevent abuse, alleging Ford had attempted to physically harm her and placed her “in fear of imminent bodily injury” after an argument allegedly turned physical. According to Oregon court records obtained by the Post-Record, Ford’s wife told police her husband had grabbed her as she tried to go up a flight of stairs following an argument, causing her to fall backward and hit the floor and the wall.
In her restraining order petition, she said Ford continued to harass her in the weeks following this incident, allegedly making “verbally abusive phone calls,” hacking into her social media accounts, becoming “progressively more erratic,” repeatedly calling her cell and work phones and making “various threats to ruin (her), make (her) suffer … make (her) life miserable.”
Ford’s then-wife told the court she believed her husband was angry about losing his assets and money after she had filed for a divorce.
“He is ex-law enforcement and (has) an extremely aggressive personality,” she wrote in her restraining order petition, adding Ford also had access to firearms.
The Washington County Circuit Court in Oregon granted Ford’s wife a restraining order in late May 2015.
Less than three months later, according to court records, Ford was back in court, charged with violating the terms of the restraining order after “sending numerous text messages to (a) friend in an attempt to reconcile with Mrs. Ford.”
According to the Oregon State Bar, a person arrested for violating a restraining order may be charged with “contempt of court,” which carries a maximum penalty of six months in jail and/or a fine, but could also be reduced to a warning, suspended sentence or probation.
According to a sentencing memorandum dated Aug. 10, 2015, Ford pled “no contest” to one count of contempt of court. Before his sentencing, in recognition that a sentence would likely require him to relinquish his firearms and ammunition, Ford asked the court to make a special allowance, allowing him to retain use of his bow and arrows and go on two out-of-state hunting trips during his probation.
“(Ford) is an avid bow hunter and has two non-refundable bow-hunting trips scheduled in the coming months,” Ford’s attorney, Michael De Muniz, wrote in the Aug. 10, 2015, sentencing memorandum. “(He) has already paid $23,650 for a trip to Alaska (to hunt brown bears) and $3,080 for a trip to New Mexico (to hunt elk).”
The judge sentenced Ford to two years of formal probation and ordered him to seek evaluation, treatment and counseling for “batterer specific/domestic violence.”
The judge also set domestic violence conditions on Ford’s probation, including:
- having no direct or indirect contact with his then-wife;
- successfully completing an approved domestic violence intervention program as directed by a probation officer;
- notifying his probation officer within 24 hours “of any new arrest, citation for criminal or stalking matters and petitions for restraining orders or stalking protective orders filed against (him);
- attending a Washington County Survivors’ Impact Panel as directed by his probation officer;
- consenting to his probation officer “communicating with others about the defendant’s domestic violence history;”
- Submitting to polygraph testing as directed by his probation officer; and
- agreeing to “not menace, intimidate, threaten or have offensive physical contact with anyone including, but not limited to, intimate partners.”
The judge also ordered Ford to not possess any firearms or ammunition or apply for a license or permit authorizing the possession of a firearm during his probation period. He was allowed, however, to retain his bow and arrows and attend his out-of-state hunting trips.
Contacted on Thursday, July 22, about the domestic violence accusations and sentence for violating a restraining order to prevent abuse, Ford claimed “there was absolutely no domestic violence,” and said the restraining order violation was “a mistake.”
“I sent a text message to a friend, which was third-party communication,” Ford said. “It wasn’t stalking down (her) street or anything of that nature.”
Asked what lessons he gained from attending the required domestic violence intervention program ordered by the judge, Ford claimed he only had to attend “a couple of classes.”
“They released me and felt I didn’t need it,” Ford told the Post-Record this week.
Court records dispute this account. On July 21, 2016, Ford’s attorney filed a motion to terminate Ford’s probation, claiming Ford “completed the domestic violence program (and) the probation department informed (Ford) it would recommend that (his) probation be reduced to bench probation.”
An order filed a little over two weeks later, on Aug. 8, 2016, shows the district attorney denied Ford’s attorney’s motion, noting: “If you are arraigned on a domestic violence or sex crime, you are prohibited from contacting the named victim even while in custody.”
Community members in the Camas-Washougal region have questioned Ford’s background since he decided to run in the mayoral campaign earlier this year. As noted in other Post-Record articles, in addition to the 2015 domestic violence accusations and restraining order violation, the Washougal pub owner has been questioned for a lawsuit he filed against the city of Sweet Home, Oregon, and its police chief after being fired from his job as a probationary police officer, as well as for several cases involving sexual abuse by massage therapists that worked for Ford’s Massage Envy franchises.
Asked why he would expose himself to intense scrutiny by running for such a public position, Ford said he did not feel his campaign would be impacted by his past lawsuits, job dismissals or domestic violence accusations. He also said he has no intention of dropping out of the Washougal mayoral race.
“Everybody has a past, things in their life they’re not happy about,” Ford said. “I think I can do some good out here.”
Editor’s note: The Post-Record does not publish the names of domestic violence or sexual assault survivors.