Giusto says he will retire at the end of 2008

Giusto says he will retire at the end of 2008 »Play Video
PORTLAND, Ore. - Just days before a hearing that could determine whether he will keep his law enforcement certification and after months of accusations he lied about his knowledge of a sex scandal involving former Oregon Governor Neil Goldschmidt, Multnomah County Sheriff Bernie Giusto has announced he intends to retire at the end of 2008.

In a story first published Thursday on the Portland Tribune's Web site, Giusto was quoted as saying in a statement that  "when balancing the effect of continually declining resources on our agency and public safety services and the political climate over the last five years, it is clear to me it is time to make the choice to retire. While it is an honor to be in the position I am, it has also been exhausting and has taken its toll on me personally."

Giusto will face a hearing next week that could determine if he lied about his knowledge of former Oregon Governor Neil Goldschmidt's sexual abuse of a 14-year-old girl in the 1970s. Goldschmidt was the mayor of Portland at the time. The victim was his babysitter.

The incident was brought to light only recently by the Willamette Week newspaper. Sheriff Giusto has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing in relation to the allegations against him.

According to the Tribune article, Giusto's chief of staff said the timing of the announcement has nothing to do with the Feb. 12 hearing and that Giusto intends to "keep his badge" and serve out the rest of the year, including shifting more oversight of the jails and sheriff's office to Multnomah County commissioners.

Giusto's designated successor, Sheriff Bob Skipper, will take over after Giusto retires. A special election will then be held to elect a new sheriff.

No specific date for the election has been announced.