Former Olympian Pleads Guilty In Oregon To Underage Sex Crimes

Hillsboro, Ore. — Richard Rankin Fellers, a 63-year-old former Olympian and elite equestrian coach, pleaded guilty to two counts of Sexual Abuse in the Second Degree on July 12, 2023. The case was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Rayney Meisel before Washington County Circuit Court Judge Ted Sims.

The victim, who was 14 years old at the time, began training with Mr. Fellers at his facility in Tualatin, Oregon. She lived on her own while her family remained in California. At the age of 16, Mr. Fellers expressed his love for the victim and coerced her into a sexual relationship. The abuse took place in Washington County, Oregon, as well as other states during equestrian competitions where the defendant traveled. The abuse came to light in the summer of 2020 when a family friend and Mr. Fellers’ wife witnessed the abuse firsthand.

Deputy District Attorney Meisel addressed the court, stating, “Mr. Fellers has known the victim since she was 11 years old. He was revered and beloved within the equestrian community, and she idolized him. He took advantage of that.” She also highlighted the victim’s strength and poise throughout the legal process and her advocacy for herself and others in similar positions.

The change of plea was part of a collaborative agreement between Mr. Fellers, Washington County, and federal prosecutors. In addition to the state charges, Mr. Fellers pleaded guilty in federal court to charges related to crossing state lines for engaging in illicit sexual conduct with a minor while on the horse show circuit. Under the global plea agreement, Mr. Fellers will serve four years in federal detention.

The Washington County District Attorney’s Office commends the victim for her bravery and expresses gratitude to the Tualatin Police Department for their assistance. A sentencing hearing for the state charges is scheduled for October 27, 2023.