Search and rescue volunteers charged with sexually abusing teen

Search and rescue volunteers charged with sexually abusing teen
Casey (left) and Rosa Wenger

KEIZER, Ore. – Keizer police arrested a husband and wife on sex abuse charges after investigators learned the couple had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl.

The three were Marion County Search and Rescue volunteers, according to the sheriff’s office.

Casey Wenger, 33, and his wife Rosa Wenger, 31, were arrested on Thursday by Keizer police.

According to sheriff’s office spokesman Sgt. Chris Baldridge, someone called the sheriff’s office on Monday to report that the couple was having an inappropriate sexual relationship with the girl.

Casey Wenger is charged with sex abuse (2nd degree) and 30 counts of encouraging child sex abuse. Rosa Wenger is charged with sex abuse (3rd degree) and 20 counts of encouraging child sex abuse.

Police took the couple to the Marion County Jail.

The Wengers are no longer search and rescue volunteers, the sheriff’s office said.

According to the sheriff's office, Casey Wenger joined the Team 18 search and rescue program as a volunteer in 1994. Rosa Wenger joined the same program as a volunteer in 2003.

While with the team, the Wengers trained other team members and coordinated their deployment when they were needed, the sheriff's office said.

"Individuals' personal actions like this undermine the public's trust and confidence placed in our office," Sheriff Jason Myers said in a statement. "The moment this was reported, we took action to ensure that the individuals would be held responsible and that those within the Team 18 program would be safe. Our goal now is to focus on the members of Team 18 who are obviously just as shocked and upset as we are."

Team 18 currently has 57 volunteers, according to the sheriff's office. It is a nonprofit organization and assists in searching for missing people and evidence of whether a crime was committed in those cases.