Rich Fellers, 2012 Jumping World Cup champion and American Olympian, was arrested by Tualatin Oregon Police detectives Monday morning at his home and stables in Oregon City, Oregon.
The arrest, according to law firm Palma & Prince, is the result of a year-long investigation into “allegations of misconduct” that originated with a complaint to the sports governing body and watchdog group, U.S. Center for SafeSport.
Fellers and his wife Shelley were placed on interim suspension by the Center in February 2021, prohibiting them from coaching or working with young equestrians. Shelley Fellers was later issued a four-year suspension by the Center in April for abuse of process, retaliation, and failure to report. That suspension is currently subject to appeal.
The case against Rich Fellers, continued the press release, was presented for Grand Jury review “due to a mounting body of evidence which demonstrated serious predatory behavior and sexual abuse of [his former student] Maggie Kehring.” Grand jury review is typically reserved for serious crimes or felonies and is commonly the first step in criminal proceedings.
Tualatin Police released the following statement on the arrest:
“On Monday, June 7, 2021, at approximately 10:20am, Tualatin Police Detectives arrested Richard Rankin Fellers, 61 years of age, of Oregon City, stemming from an indictment for four counts of Second Degree Sexual Abuse.
“Over the course of a long investigation, lasting several months, with witnesses in multiple states, Tualatin Police established that Mr. Fellers had a sexual relationship with a female victim who was 17 years old. Mr. Fellers was the victim’s horse trainer and the alleged crimes occurred at the victim’s apartment, located at Eddyline Apartments in Portland.
“This is an ongoing investigation and no further information is available at this time.”
The alleged victim, Kehring, now 18, issued a statement on Instagram when Fellers was first suspended, stating, “It is important to know this investigation and process has been underway for many, many months. I initially didn’t want to participate in the SafeSport process out of confusion and fear. I struggled with the thought the world would know that what occurred to me for many years would lead to someone America came to love [Fellers] to possibly be banned from the sport.”
Upon learning of the Grand Jury’s decision this morning, she released the following statement via Palma & Prince:
“Though there are things that happened to me that I can never get back, I am relieved and grateful to see that my truth, The Truth, was heard, understood and believed. The power in me has been restored by protecting others and ensuring that no one else will be scarred by this same experience. I am so thankful for the work the Tualatin Police Department and FBI have done on my behalf and the behalf of others in similar situations.”
Kehring “will have no further comment” and asked that her and her family’s privacy during this difficult time be respected.
The national federation, U.S. Equestrian, issued a statement condemning sex abuse and in support of Kehring’s request for privacy:
“USEF strongly believes that sex abuse has no place in sport. Protecting athletes from all forms of abuse should be the collective concern of our community. USEF urges all participants to respect the privacy of the victim and her family at this time. Please be reminded that sexual abuse involving athletes under 18 must be reported to the U.S. Center for SafeSport and the authorities. Let’s stand together by supporting victims and survivors of abuse in our sport.”
Rich Fellers was lodged at the Washington County Jail.
This story has been updated to include statements from Tualatin Police Department and U.S. Equestrian. More updates will be made as new information becomes available.