BEND, Ore. – A former Sunriver Fire Department firefighter-paramedic who was president of their labor association was sentenced Tuesday to nearly 200 hours of community service, to be completed within three years, after he pleaded guilty to hacking the fire chief’s computer email to see documents related to labor relations.
Jason Arnold and former Capt. Jeff Ruthardt were found guilty of hacking into the fire chief’s email in 2015 and accessing documents about labor relations.
Arnold was sentenced after a jury convicted him on 23 counts of computer crime late last week.
Deschutes County Deputy District Attorney Daniel Reesor said he and police wanted to hold Arnold accountable.
“We believe that not only being in a position of trust but of power as a president really aggravated the circumstances here,” Reesor said.
Arnold will also have to pay the Sunriver Fire Department $1,000 for time spent dealing with the repercussions of his crime.
Arnold told the judge he committed the crime for other people and has been attending classes at COCC to pursue a new career.
Reesor said Arnold violated the trust given to him by the fire department.
“Somebody as a union president, they have a lot of power in negotiating, they have a lot of responsibility and there’s a lot of fellow firefighters that are looking up to him,” Reesor said. “By committing these crimes, I believe he is hurting the union, he’s hurting the fire department and he’s hurting everyone around him.”
Arnold’s attorney, Thomas Hill, said they’re not making excuses for his actions, but the incident also affected Arnold personally.
Sunriver Fire Chief Art Hatch was in the courtroom, but declined to address the court.
Circuit Judge Wells Ashby did not impose jail time, telling Arnold he does not believe someone should be defined by their worst moment.
Reesor said based on testimony at Arnold’s trial, it appears the Sunriver Fire Department has become progressively better since the incident.
“I believe and I hope this is a closing chapter in this long saga of what the defendant Mr. Arnold and Mr. Ruthardt did to their former employer,” Reesor said