FBI Fugitive Missing for 25 Years Returns to Face Charges in Oregon: Barrett Busschau Faces Sex Abuse Charges in Clackamas County
Barrett Preston Busschau, age 43, from South Africa, has ended a 25-year fugitive hunt to face charges in Portland, Oregon. He arrived in Portland on September 5, 2018, at which time the FBI arranged for Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office deputies to meet his plane to arrest Busschau, who agreed to return to the United States to face sex abuse charges.
Busschau will be arraigned on the failure to appear charge before a state circuit court judge at the Clackamas County Courthouse at 3 p.m. on Thursday, September 6, 2018. At the same time, he will also make an initial appearance on the Clackamas County sex abuse charges.
Authorities in Clackamas County arrested Busschau on July 27, 1993, for the alleged molestation of five girls between the ages of ten and fifteen. At that time, he faced state charges in Clackamas County for first degree sexual penetration with a foreign object; first degree sexual abuse; third degree sodomy; third degree rape; and third degree sexual abuse. A grand jury in Washington County also indicted Busschau on additional charges related to two of the same victims in 1993. Those Washington County charges included first degree unlawful sexual penetration; first degree sexual abuse (2 counts); third degree rape (3 counts); and third degree sodomy (4 counts). Busschau fled before the court process in either Clackamas or Washington County could proceed.
In the months that followed, grand juries in both Clackamas County and Washington County indicted Busschau on charges of failure to appear. On October 18, 1994, the FBI obtained an unlawful flight to avoid prosecution (federal fugitive) warrant.
The Fugitive Felon Act is used to marshal federal resources to support the location and apprehension of fugitives from state justice. As is typical in such cases, federal authorities will dismiss the federal fugitive charge when state prosecution on the underlying substantive charges proceeds.
Busschau is a South African citizen who came to the United States as a child. In 1989, he obtained legal permanent resident status.
Busschau’s surrender follows a year of increased publicity efforts by FBI Portland and the Clackamas County District Attorney’s Office to bring resolution to this long-running fugitive hunt. That fugitive publicity effort included features on FBI.gov, press releases, social media posts on Twitter and Facebook, and Facebook ads in both the Pacific Northwest and South Africa. Busschau’s captured poster can be seen at https://www.fbi.gov/wanted/cac/barrett-preston-busschau.
“For a quarter of a century, Barrett Busschau managed to hide half-a-world away,” said Renn Cannon, special agent in charge of the FBI in Oregon. “Thanks to an FBI case agent’s persistence, the prosecutors and partnerships stretching from Oregon to South Africa, Mr. Busschau will finally have to face these serious allegations and his accusers in court.”
Criminal charges are only an accusation of a crime, and all defendants should be presumed innocent until proven guilty.