October 14, 2011
• Posted in

A Morrow County Jury had convicted Joseph Edward Pergande of rape, unlawful sexual penetration, sexual abuse, and coercion

District Attorney Justin Nelson and Attorney General John Kroger today announced a 62.5-year prison sentence for a Morrow County man convicted of sexually molesting two children.

“We all have a moral obligation to protect children,” said Attorney General Kroger. “I want to thank the Morrow County District Attorney’s office for their excellent work on the case.”

“Child sexual abuse crimes are among the most devastating crimes that can occur in a community. Crimes like these inflict severe physical, emotional, and psychological trauma on their victims. As Morrow County District Attorney, I am proud of the successful prosecution of this case and the teamwork between the Oregon Department of Justice and the Morrow County District Attorney’s Office that led to the conviction. Assistant Attorney General Dan Wendel and Morrow County Deputy District Attorney Richard Tovey did an impressive job prosecuting this case,” said District Attorney Nelson.

Edward Joseph Pergande (DOB: 8/30/1978) was sentenced Thursday by Circuit Court Judge Eva J. Temple to 62.5 years in prison for the repeated sexual abuse of two minor children. Members of the victims’ family listened to the sentencing in real-time from the Circuit Court in Hermiston.

The defendant was convicted by a unanimous Morrow County jury on September 2, 2011, of 1 count each of Rape in the First Degree and Unlawful Sexual Penetration in the First Degree, and 2 counts each of Sexual Abuse in the First Degree and Coercion. The jury deliberated for approximately ninety minutes at the conclusion of the four day trial in Heppner.

Under Jessica’s law, the Defendant faced a mandatory 25 years in prison on each of the Rape and Unlawful Sexual Penetration counts.  Under Ballot Measure 11, the mandatory minimum sentence on each of the Sexual Abuse charges is 75 month. Judge Temple imposed consecutive sentences, finding that the defendant had committed multiple criminal sex acts against multiple victims.

The facts at trial showed that the defendant repeatedly sexually assaulted two minor children during 2006 and 2007.  The defendant knew the child victims through a personal relationship. The child victims were between four and seven years old during the time of the abuse.

The Oregon Department of Justice (DOJ) has been prosecuting the case in cooperation with the Morrow County District Attorney’s office since March 2010. DOJ temporarily ran the office in 2010 when the District Attorney position became vacant. Upon his appointment in July of 2010, District Attorney Justin Nelson asked DOJ to continue to prosecute certain cases involving serious person crimes in order to minimize disruption to crime victims and their families. Senior Assistant Attorney General Dan Wendel and Deputy District Attorney Richard Tovey prosecuted the case.

The case was initially investigated by the Morrow County Sheriff’s Office with the assistance of the Guardian Care Center in Pendleton.

Attorney General John Kroger leads the Oregon Department of Justice. The Department’s mission is to fight crime and fraud, protect the environment, improve child welfare, promote a positive business climate, and defend the rights of all Oregonians.


Tony Green, (503) 378-6002 |