A 49-year-old Pendleton man was arrested Friday by Pendleton police for rape in the first degree and several other charges related to rape and assault.
The case against John Harmon Calvert began March 3, according to Pendleton police chief Stuart Roberts, when a third party contacted the Department of Human Services concerned about the potential physical abuse of five children, all in Calvert’s custody.
Roberts said DHS went to the home where the alleged abuse was occurring and determined the children should be put in guardian care.
The children were brought before a grand jury on Friday and a warrant was issued for Calvert, who was arrested on charges of assault, criminal mistreatment and menacing of the children, as well as rape, unlawful sexual penetration and assault of his significant other. Calvert also was found to have a .22 rifle in his possession, and was arrested as a felon in possession of a firearm.
The children range in age from five to 12, Roberts said.
“They have allegedly been subjected to physical abuse for the last 10 years,” Roberts said.
Roberts said it’s difficult to estimate how many cases of abuse have occurred as the family has moved around Oregon and to other states.
Roberts said Calvert physically abused all the children, but directed more at one of them.
“Striking the kids with hands and feet, throwing objects to inflict physical injuries,” Roberts said. “He went so far as to allegedly threaten to kill them.”
Roberts said the Pendleton Police Department has had a history with Calvert since 2010, but did not have prior records of this type of abuse from him.
“He had a restraining order in place, but the person who had the restraining order, his wife, never reported that he was in violation,” Roberts said. He said children also don’t always know to report abuse. “As egregious as (these acts) may seem, for young kids, this is their ‘normal’ — they’re not always (aware) it’s not right.”
Roberts said the report of suspected abuse came from one of the local schools.
Calvert is currently lodged in the Umatilla County Jail.