A La Grande man is facing 18 sex abuse charges — 17 of which are Measure 11 crimes with hefty mandatory minimum sentences.

Brett Kleng, 56, was arrested Wednesday by Oregon State Police and is housed in the Union County Jail on $500,000 bail. Kleng is being held on charges of 10 counts of first-degree sex abuse, seven counts of sexual penetration with an object and one count of second-degree sex abuse.

Two of the three victims are minors. The incidents range from 2000 to 2016, according to the indictment.

Kleng made his initial court appearance Thursday via teleconference from the jail room. Union County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Powers told Kleng the first-degree sex abuse charges each carry a mandatory minimum sentence of 75 months in jail; sexual penetration carries a minimum of 100 months and those that involve a minor carry a minimum of 300 months.

Powers asked Kleng whether he understood those charges, and explained his right to a 12-person jury trial and the availability to hire a court appointed attorney.

Victoria Roe, who is the prosecuting attorney from the Department of Justice, requested the bail be raised to $850,000, based on the charges. She also requested that if Kleng does post bail, a release hearing be set.

Powers denied the bail increase and set it at $500,000. Kleng will have a plea hearing at 1:15 p.m.
Dec. 21.

Kleng was charged with driving under the influence of intoxicants in September. He had been investigated in the early 1990s on a case involving sex abuse that did not turn into a criminal charge, Roe said.

Roe was brought in as a special counsel from the Department of Justice in the Criminal Justice Division in Salem. She previously served as the interim District Attorney in Klamath County.

Roe brings a specialization in prosecuting child abuse, adult sexual assault and domestic violence cases and has worked through the DOJ in Klamath, Harney, Curry, Lake and Malheur counties, according to an article written by the Herald and News, out of Klamath Falls.

Editor's note: The story has been updated with a correction of Attorney Victoria Roe's name.

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