Tillamook, Ore. – An Oregon Coast man who operated a camel riding business has been convicted on three Class C felony counts of Invasion of Privacy in the First Degree– all part of a plea deal with the Tillamook County District Attorney’s Office– according to court records filed earlier today.
John David Bonander, 49, was arrested back in December of 2022 on four counts of invasion of privacy and two counts of tampering with physical evidence, with the invasion claims being marked as sex crimes.
While the filming by Bonander involved minors, court sentencing documents state that Bonander will serve 36 months of supervised probation, among other terms, but will not serve any jail time or have to register as a sex offender. He also was allowed to plea “no contest” instead of a full guilty plea.
“The parties agree defendant shall not be required to register as a sex offender pursuant to ORS 163.701(3). Defendant is sentenced to jail equal to time served,” stated the court document.
Bonander was ordered to complete a single-sex offender treatment program and comply with treatment rules but was permitted to enter school buildings for activities with his child regardless of any of those rules.
The news that Bonander will only face the time served in jail following his immediate arrest, along with avoiding requirements to register as a sex offender, is expected to cause some public uproar on a case that received regional media attention across the northwest.
During his arrest in December of 2022, detectives alleged that Bonander appeared to be preparing to flee the area.
“We found two phones in the process of being erased, as well as a ‘go-bag’ filled with passports and birth certificates. Bonander also had a large amount of cash on him.” said TCSO Detective Chase Ross.
One of the original minor victims was also illegally employed by Bonander’s camel riding business, West Coast Camels, along with horseback riding outfitter Green Acres Beach & Trail Rides operated at the same location.
The bathroom Bonander had filmed minors in was located on the property in a dwelling that Bonander also previously resided in and was used by employees.
Bonander was reported by numerous sources, along with his own past admissions, to being friends and business partners with Daniel & Teresa Stuebgen, who owned the Green Acres horseback riding business.
Following the charges, the Stuebgens claimed via social media postings that they and the businesses had no ties and denied having a friendship with Bonander over the preceding years. Despite this, it was learned that the businesses shared employees, facilities, and that West Coast Camels subleased from Stuebgen’s business.
According to multiple sources previously employed by Green Acres, the property owner receives a portion of the company’s revenue.
The property used by Bonander and the Stuebgens, located at 5985 Pacific Ave in Pacific City, Oregon, is owned by R&M Properties, an Oregon company whose longtime owner is Judd Moore, a retired architect from Portland.
Moore has not returned multiple attempts in the past seeking comment on the myriad of issues and allegations by State officials against his commercial tenants.
Numerous former employees of Green Acres and the Stuebgen’s, which included some who spoke only on the condition of anonymity, stated the property owners also received a share of Green Acre’s revenue, but this could not be independently confirmed.
The location and business have been a source of other scrutiny as recently as last year over allegations of neglect of horses and other animals, a story originally reported by this publication. It also included allegations of an investigation involving the Stuebgens and their minor grandson, who had allegedly burned a chicken alive and was sharing the recording among friends.
Equestrian Media Group obtained a copy of the horrific video but did not share it due to editor discretion.
Bonander was not believed to have played a role in the neglect allegations involving the Stuebgens and their animals.
According to a mountain of State records obtained by Equestrian Media Group, the Stuebgens, and their business are also embattled with numerous state agencies and investigations for illegal labor practices and other violations.
Last summer, the company and the Stuebgens were hit with a nearly $120,000 fine by the Department of Consumer & Business Services (DCBS) for years of failing to maintain workers’ compensation coverage- having ignored repeated calls by DCBS to provide past employment records and obtain the required insurance.
DCBS officials repeatedly clarified to the Stuebgens in person and in writing that they were personally on the hook for the $120,000 fine.
It was also believed from statements made by State officials that there were missing payroll fillings, creating new questions of possible tax evasion and even more liability for the Stuebgens. Business owners cannot discharge payroll tax liabilities in bankruptcy.
The Stuebgens and their business ultimately failed to comply with State law and/or appeal the proposed fine, which was finalized last fine. They have still not obtained any workers’ compensation insurance as of the publication.
According to a DCBS spokesperson in a statement made in November of 2023, the company did not appeal the fine.
“Green Acres did not appeal the noncomplying employer order and their appeal rights have expired. To date, the employer has not yet obtained workers’ compensation coverage.” said DCBS’ Public Information & Communications Director, Mark Peterson.
“If an employer continues to employ subject workers without workers’ compensation coverage in place, they can be subject to additional penalties up to $250 per day of noncompliance, as well as subject to an injunction issued by the circuit court. Further failure to comply can ultimately lead to jail time,” stated Peterson.
It was unclear what, if any, additional penalties or actions have yet taken place by DCBS.
However, DCBS records did appear to show an ongoing collaboration between their officials, the Oregon Bureau of Labor & Industries (BOLI), and the Oregon Department of Justice.
An October 2023 email from BOLI investigators to officials with DCBS and an Oregon DOJ Special Agent stated the agency had an open case against Green Acres Beach & Trail Rides for child labor violations, but also made mention of allegations from an Oregon DHS investigator about alleged sexual abuse by an owner of Green Acres.
“We are in the process of referring the case for child labor violations and civil penalties to our Administrative Prosecution Unit. In addition, we plan to refer this matter to the District Attorney’s office in Tillamook County due to the seriousness of the allegations and information we received from an Investigator with ODHS investigating sexual abuse that took place involving one of the owners and a minor that ‘volunteered’ at the worksite.”
Last month BOLI then started to decline to produce any more public records surrounding Green Acres, citing exemptions under Oregon’s Public Records Law, explaining that the case had been referred to the DOJ Administrative Prosecution Unit to determine if they will issue a charging document.
Court records also showed that days before the October email from a BOLI official, Daniel Stuebgen, who owns Green Acres with his ex-wife Teresa Stuebgen, was arrested on a felony charge of Custodial Interference in the Second Degree.
Stuebgen was allegedly keeping the minor from her father. An earlier July 2023 BOLI Memo also reported that Stuebgen admitted to employing a 12-year-old minor who volunteered, which BOLI officials pointed out was not legal to have volunteers “perform work that would have otherwise have to be done by an employee to stay in operation.”
Generally, for-profit businesses cannot have unpaid volunteers or workers who are not at least paid minimum wage, according to both Oregon labor law and the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
According to the BOLI investigator, “[Stuebgen] said that the 12 year old’s [sic] parents are both alcoholics so the household is ‘not a good place.’ The 12 year old [sic] allegedly spends part of the week with the owner and his family.”
It could not be confirmed if the minor named in the charging document related to the custodial interference or referenced in the DHS matter was the same minor. We are not sharing the charging document per this publication’s policy as it identifies a potential minor victim.
Stuebgen has a history of other charges for assault and harassment in recent years. He and his ex-wife also both have a known history of extensive alcohol use. Teresa Stuebgen faced jail time for failing to abide by the conditions of her probation from a March 2021 DUI incident in Tillamook County.
While it does not appear Bonander’s defunct business ever faced any of its own fines or violations, records did show that West Coast Camels appeared to have been employing some of the same minors as Green Acres, also without a minor exemption certificate required under state and federal labor laws.
Tillamook County District Attorney Aubrey Olson did not return a request for comment before press time. We will update this story with any response.
The Tillamook County Sheriff’s Office was not contacted for any comment on the case after previously saying they would no longer respond to this publication or any of its affiliated reporters, creating an effective blacklist that raises constitutional questions.
Past attempts to seek responses from TCSO have gone unanswered since that time.
The statement to end any further communication with Equestrian Media Group and its affiliated reporters was made by Public Information Officer Deputy Paul Fournier, the TCSO spokesperson.
“TCSO will not be making any further comments to your publication, [sic] or its reporters,” said Fournier.
It followed this publication’s offer for comment from TCSO Sheriff Josh Brown earlier last year to respond to critical comments against the agency, made both online and during local citizens’ statements to Equestrian Media Group.
Some allegations included generalized claims that TCSO was not meeting acceptable standards or training related to animal cruelty investigations.
Details surrounding the closure of Bonander’s business, West Coast Camels, were also unclear. Bonander allegedly sold the camels and/or shipped them elsewhere out of state.
Disclosure Note: Due to a pending settlement in a civil matter between John Bonander and Equestrian Media Group’s managing editor, we did not seek comment from Bonander for this story. Bonander was also criminally convicted in 2022 of telephonic harassment stemming from conduct in 2021 and 2022 against the editor in a matter not associated to this publication’s reporting.