Embattled Athena officer resigns

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ATHENA -- The police officer who was placed on administrative leave after he was indicted for multiple sex crimes is without a job, as of Aug. 13 when the City Council unanimously accepted his resignation.

Mark Benston Ashcraft, 36, is accused of using e-mail to solicit a 15-year-old girl to engage in sexual contact with him, then having sexual intercourse with her within the month before his arrest. Oregon State Police arrested him June 22.

He pleaded innocent in an arraignment hearing in Umatilla County Circuit Court June 27 to three counts of third-degree sex abuse, and one count each of second-degree sex abuse, third-degree sodomy and first-degree online sexual corruption of a child.

Ashcraft has worked as an Athena city officer since December 2007. Prior to that he was a police officer in Pilot Rock, Ore.

Ashcraft has been out on bail since July 22 and living in Athena, according to a story in the East Oregonian.

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