Judge returns verdict in State of Oregon v. Michael Laney

Multnomah Co. District Attorney's Office

On May 7, 2019, Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge Benjamin Souede found 73-year-old Michael Laney guilty of four counts of sexual abuse in the first degree.

Judge Souede also acquitted Laney of three counts of rape in the first degree and three counts of sexual abuse in the first degree.

As stated in court documents, Laney was a former vice president for the Walt Disney Company.

During the six-day trial, the state presented evidence showing that in March 2017, a minor female child disclosed she had been sexually abused by the defendant. The disclosure was initially reported to law enforcement in Washington State where the victim resided at the time of her disclosure.

The Portland Police Bureau’s Child Abuse Team was notified and assumed responsibility of the investigation after it was determined that the abuse had occurred within the City of Portland, starting in approximately 2009 when the victim was about seven years of age. The Court found sufficient evidence to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Laney was guilty of repeated sexual abuse involving this particular victim.

While conducting their investigation into the first reported disclosure of rape and sexual abuse by the defendant, PPB detectives learned of other allegations of sexual abuse involving Laney. An individual who made one such disclosure told law enforcement that Laney sexually abused her while she was a minor in approximately 2007 when she lived in Portland. The Court found there was not sufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Laney was guilty of this allegation involving the second female and thus rendered an acquittal. 

Sentencing in this matter is scheduled for June 14, 2019.

No additional information shall be released by the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office while this case is pending sentencing.

This case was litigated by Multnomah County Deputy District Attorney Chuck Mickley who is assigned to the Multnomah County Multidisciplinary Child Abuse Team, which includes representatives from local law enforcement, public schools, hospitals, courts, health departments, the Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS), and the Oregon Department of Employment Child Care Division.

The Multnomah County District Attorney’s Multidisciplinary Child Abuse Team is responsible for reviewing and coordinating child abuse and neglect cases in Multnomah County. The team also handles all child homicides, felony child physical abuse cases, felony child abandonment cases, custodial interference cases, and felony sex crimes where the victim is currently under the age of 18 and where the perpetrator is determined not to be a stranger to the child.