Friends and clients of St. John businessman Jason Monigold were relieved to hear that charges of sex crimes made against him in February were dismissed following a plea agreement in Benton County, Oregon, on Sept. 11.
Monigold was arrested on St. John on Jan. 2 and extradited to Oregon, where he faced charges stemming from events alleged to have taken place in August 2017 while Monigold was visiting family.
“People who knew him didn’t believe he was guilty from the beginning,” said Cid Hamling, the owner of Connections, a communications center where Monigold rents office space.
Monigold faced charges of first-degree online corruption of a child, luring a minor, and third-degree rape. All of these charges were dismissed, and Monigold will not be required to register as a sex offender.
Monigold pleaded no contest to charges of unlawful delivery of a marijuana item.
“Please remember that no guilt is admitted in a plea of no contest,’” Monigold stated. Under Oregon law, that plea acknowledges that prosecutors have enough evidence to bring the case to trial. Monigold said the delivery charge will be reduced to a misdemeanor at the end of probation.
As part of the plea deal, Monigold also pleaded no contest to two charges of harassment.
“Oregon requested I complete a psychosexual evaluation,” said Monigold. “My life is an open book and, to that end, I earnestly agreed to this. The only law on Oregon’s books that compels this assessment and nothing else is ‘Harassment.’ Since these charges exist simply to compel an assessment, Oregon is not requesting I plead guilty to them either. This is the deal I made to avoid a costly and emotional trial on both sides.”
Monigold, 43, has lived on St. John for 14 years. He’s the owner of Computer Express, an IT consulting/computer repair business.
He was one of a group of IT experts who teamed up after Hurricane Irma and cobbled together equipment to provide St. John residents with basic internet and cell phone service after the storm. Eventually, this group evolved into the nonprofit corporation Love City Community Network. Monigold was suspended when charges were brought against him.
“He came to me three days after the storm and proposed the idea the idea of setting up free public WiFi spots,” said Matt Gyuraki. “He always puts other people in front of himself. My personal relationship with him has always been positive. Never have I seen him do anything ill-minded. He’s a good person caught in a bad spot, and his true character will be seen over time.”
Hamling, who worked closely with him for 12 years, could only shake her head as she considered the impact of his arrest.
“To lose his support, his expertise, and community spirit … this has been a nightmare for him.”
“We’re all excited about welcoming him back,” said Keryn Bryan, who also works at Connections. “This is his home and his extended family.”
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